Family First Slams Govt’s Desperate Delay Tactics on Referendum

Family First NZ says the government is guilty of being arrogant, hypocritical and patronising by suggesting that the Referendum on the anti-smacking law cannot be organised until mid-2009.

“The government is yet to announce the date of the general election involving the two-vote system under MMP and due to take place within 3 months, yet it says it cannot organise a one-vote Referendum within 10 months,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The attempt to delay democracy by this government is breath-taking. This is a cynical attempt to muzzle the voice of NZ’ers who are opposed to the hugely unpopular and highly flawed anti-smacking law.”

“More than 10% of voters have met the high threshold of asking for a Referendum and recent polls suggest that between 80-90% oppose the legislation. It makes complete sense both economically and in terms of timing to do it at the same time as the general election.”

According to the Cabinet papers, the lame excuses for not holding the Referendum during the election include
it would take issuing officers longer to issue the two or three voting papers to each voter
voters would take longer to mark their papers
voters would be confused by the additional voting papers

The Cabinet papers also acknowledge a simple lack of organisation caused problems at the last Referendum. It says “At the 1999 general election, voters were instructed to place the two CIR voting papers, together with the Parliamentary voting paper, into a single ballot box for each electorate. This, together with the fact that the CIR voting papers were not distinctly coloured, contributed to significant delays to the sort and count of voting papers.”

“In other words, the problems experienced by the last Referendum held on an election day simply came down to poor organisation.”

“The government simply refuses to acknowledge the opinion of NZ’ers,” says Mr McCoskrie, “and is doing everything it can to bury this issue. It shows a complete lack of respect for the due democratic process in NZ.”
ENDS