Smacking lobby offer rejected

The Press 01 July 2009

The Government has rejected a conditional offer from the promoters of the smacking referendum that would have enabled the unpopular ballot to be called off. Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock wrote to Prime Minister John Key offering to call off the $9 million referendum, which asks: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

Referendum instigator Sheryl Savill is the only person who can call off the referendum, and it must be done by Friday, before Governor-General Anand Satyanand gives assent for the ballot. Baldock said Savill would do so, but only if the law was amended to again allow reasonable force for the purposes of correction. Key said he would not agree to such a deal, and even if he did he could not guarantee Parliament would back it. “If it wasn’t whipped [a party vote], I can’t be sure that all National members would vote for a law change,” he said.