Campaign begins for referendum on child discipline

National Radio 15 June 2009

The Electoral Enrollment Centre begins a campaign on Monday to remind voters to check they are enrolled for a referendum on child discipline. The referendum in July, which is not binding on the Government, has been initiated by opponents of a law passed by Parliament in 2007. The law removed the defence of reasonable force for anyone accused of assaulting a child. Voters will be asked whether a smack as part of good parental correction should be a criminal offence in New Zealand.

Larry Baldock organised the petition which triggered the referendum and says he hopes to see the law changed again to allow the defence of reasonable force. But a spokesperson for the Yes Vote Coalition, Deborah Morris-Travers, says her group has launched a campaign to protect the law as it stands. Ms Morris-Travers says the law is working and provides increased protection for children.