Baldock's s59 petition may not get to referendum
Larry Baldock's petition to date does not yet have the required signatures to force a referendum.
Much has been made of the anti smacking petitions lately. Much of the discussion has been around whether parental correction should be a criminal offence, and the role of the Family First lobby in promoting these petitions to force a referendum at the election. A pretty ignorant blog post at Salient suggests that Larry Baldock's Kiwi Party should own one of these petitions as it is responsible for it, namely the question "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"
Problem is, the Kiwi Party is not responsible for the question. The question was written by Sheryl Savill. Russell Brown, who is someone I have a great deal of time for, thinks Bob McCoskrie of Family First is a hypocrite for promoting the petitions while supporting the "riding crop woman" and running a site called "stop the abuse".
But those who want to seek a referendum, the exercise is exactly about a cry to "stop the abuse". Like Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro, The NZ Herald and Green MP Sue Bradford, Brown ignores the second petition question: "Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in NZ"?
This was written by Larry Baldock.
But 265,000 think this question should be put to a referendum. Successfully curbing child abuse is of greater importance than whether smacking is a criminal offence or not. The problem is that advocates from organisations like Save the Children, Plunket and Barnardos refuse to sign the petition because their fear of reverting back to a smacking ban is greater than their desire to curb child abuse.
For Kiro it's worse - her fear of parents being legally able to smack their children is greater than her desire to do her own job. Russell Brown is not so gripped by paranoia, but if he really wanted to contribute to the government getting the message that it should address family breakdown, family violence and child abuse, he`d sign the petition too. He, like anyone can download it here
Theres only one problem: His view of Bob McCoskrie, who didn't even draft one petition question. Both Russell and Bob want to reduce child abuse. But only one has signed the petitions.
Barnados is panicking about a possible law change, Kiro and Bradford find it easier promoting the current law than addressing child abuse. Cindy Kiro is discouraging people from signing a petition that will force a referendum on the very issue that is a key part of her job description: child abuse.
Labels: referendum; s59