Mike Moore: Smacking-referendum hoax John Key’s biggest mistake

NZ Herald Sep 03, 2009

The expensive, puerile, futile controversy over the ill-considered anti-smacking legislation is a monument to political cowardice and opportunism. The legislation was never going to achieve what its promoters claimed, and was never going to send good parents to court, as its opponents suggested. Monsters who harm babies are not going to consult the Law Library, and no sane court is going to convict a parent because of a gentle, corrective pat.

Why the multimillion-dollar political hoax of a referendum? Because a series of dreadful child abuse cases hit the headlines and some politicians needed a headline and wanted to be seen to be doing something. The tears of some politicians on television would have shamed a weeping crocodile. So, someone reached for the law book, wound up the lobby groups and the media.