Smacking poll in hands of mother

The Dominion Post 30 June 2009

The dark-haired, bespectacled woman talking forcefully across an outdoor table laden with scones, cake and drinks on Family First’s pro-smacking website does not have a bionic arm and cannot run faster than a speeding car. But Sheryl Savill is New Zealand’s $6 million woman. The mother of two and policeman’s wife will have the final say this week on whether another $6m is spent on a referendum that Prime Minister John Key says the Government will ignore. That is because the petition calling for a referendum on the anti-smacking law was submitted in her name.

A spokeswoman for the chief electoral officer said yesterday that $700,000 had already been spent preparing for the August referendum and a public information campaign costing $2.2m had also begun. If the referendum goes ahead it will cost another $6m. However, if Ms Savill withdraws her petition before the governor-general issues the writ, the last day for which is Friday, the referendum can be cancelled. Family First director Bob McCoskrie and petition organiser Larry Baldock say that will not happen unless the Government agrees to decriminalise smacking. “The consequences of this law remaining in New Zealand are far too serious and will cost the country far more than the cost of the referendum,” Mr Baldock said.

Woman behind smacking referendum ‘concerned’ mum
Otago Daily Times 30 June 2009
The one woman with the power to halt the $9 million “anti-smacking” referendum is a “concerned” South Auckland married mother of two.