Jun 25, 2008

Timing Of The Smacking Referendum

The smacking issue is one we have tried to avoid, but we don't like bad policy or waste and it seems to us that the Government's reluctance to hold a referendum (should there be one) at the time of the general election seems to be a bad one.

John Armstrong says that this is all about politics and agrees that the PM's excuses don't stack up.

Unless the Prime Minister is planning to go to the country much earlier than everyone expects, her assertion that it is not possible to hold the anticipated citizens-initiated referendum on the anti-smacking law on election day simply does not stack up.
Helen Clark claims there is not enough time for the referendum to run alongside the general election "just in terms of sheer organisation".
The real reason, of course, is Labour does not want its election campaign sullied by periodic discussion of the smacking law whose "nanny-state" connotations have proved to be so damaging to her and her party. Better to take some flak now for delaying the referendum than see the debate resurrected over the amended section 59 of the Crimes Act which removes the defence of reasonable force for parents who physically discipline their children.

With Labour polling around the 30% mark we can't see any prospect of an election earlier than 18 October.