Sunday Star Times 09/08/2009
ACT party leader Rodney Hide has warned Prime Minister John Key of a public backlash if the government ignores the result of the controversial smacking referendum. Snubbing the referendum result sends a message that politicians know what’s best for the people and that the government is running a “nanny state”, Hide wrote in a letter delivered to Key’s office on Friday.
…In the letter to Key, Hide, who said he had been shocked by the number of parents who had been unfairly treated under the new law, urged the prime minister to act on the result of the referendum, a sign that the “no” campaign believe they will score a decisive victory. Hide told Key the law change two years ago had driven a wedge between parent and child and although some people might disapprove of the way others behaved, it did not give them the right to make the others criminals, “unless their behaviour is demonstrably causing harm”. Hide said one of the reasons Labour lost the last election was because people were sick of being told how to live their lives by politicians and “it would be a tragedy if, six months into your government, a nanny state tendency emerged once again in ignoring the clear wish of the people… ” “The referendum gives an opportunity for the public to speak. Their views must be respected.”