The question " Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand"
Is now officially irrelevant.
The Government is unlikely to change the child-discipline law regardless of the result of a $9million referendum, Prime Minister John Key says.What Key wants to do is not shut down debate, but send hints for a low response rate. Key would prefer that nobody returned their referendum papers. He would prefer that because then he`d be able to say he is listening to the people and the people didn't want a referendum.
This also gives a message to parents: The Government's position is that it is OK for you to smack your kids even though it is against the law. Just don't pressure it to change the law - or its sanctions - so you can abide by it. Democracy and representation don't have a bearing. What you think about this issue is irrelevant to the Government.
In opposition Key said this:
The Labour Government has shown utter contempt for New Zealanders and the democratic process with its plan to railroad the anti-smacking bill through Parliament. The Labour-led Government knows the measure is deeply unpopular, so it plans to act against the wishes of the majority of Kiwis and ram the bill through under urgency. This is a deeply cynical abuse of power.Representation means acting for the interests of the represented in a manner responsive to their wishes. Key wants to be responsive to the wishes of voters only if it is not politically inconvenient. In this case, although it does not reflect public wishes, the government thinks it is in the public interest for people to disobey the law if they want to lightly smack their kids in this country. So does the opposition.
Now, not content with riding over the top of the wishes of some of her MPs, she wants to ride over the top of the wishes of the majority of New Zealanders...
The Prime Minister also knows that she has been caught out saying one thing about the smacking ban before the election, and giving a different answer afterwards.
This is arrogant and cynical government at its very worst.