Bad Question On "Anti Anti Smacking Referendum"

, posted: 24-Aug-2008 13:35

So it appears that the petition which was calling for a referendum on the "anti smacking bill" (which was very poorly named so by the media, if it has been called the "anti whacking kids so hard it causes injury bill" not many people would complain I'm sure) was verified as achieving the level required to trigger a referendum.  That's great and all, democracy in work, I don't need to agree with the premise to agree with your right to be heard.


Am I the only person to see the serious flaw.  Here's the question that the petition, and apparently the forthcoming referendum will  pose:

"Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

Seems innocuous enough you say.  But let's break it down...

If you say "Yes it should be illegal" to on the face of it indicate that you are "anti smacking" then by the terms of reference you are indicating that you think that "good parental correction" should be criminal. 

The question has asserted the answer it wants, it states that "a smack [is a] part of good parental correction" before it even gets to asking the question about that!

So it puts anybody with half a mind in a real quandry when this referendum (which appears will be a postal ballot next year) arrives, at least if you are opposed to phyical discipline.  I think I'll simply return the ballot voided to indicate that the question is invalid.

Now, I don't know the rules regarding referenda, but if the government is not bound to use the same question as was posed in the petition, then perhaps somebody in government could come up with a fairer question to ask,

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Comment by Bob McCoskrie, on 24-Aug-2008 17:04

The anti-smacking bill was not named by the media. It was named by Sue Bradford Enough of that myth!!

Author's note by sleemanj, on 24-Aug-2008 17:39

Be that as it may, it's still a stupid name for the bill.

Comment by timestyles, on 24-Aug-2008 18:48

Hey guess what?  I got my "yes" and "no" reversed!  That should be

Actually, I can't find out the official name of the legislation, because when I searched NZ legislation, I couldn't see any match for "smacking".  However, in terms of the referendum, I will be voting "Yes".  Not because I necessarily think that it is a crime, but the question is so wishy-washy.  I think that about 93% will vote "No", however.

Should the question be rephrased "Is it ok to hit your child so that bruising occurs?" you'd see a lower percentage voting Yes.  Sadly, not 0% though.

[Removd the incorrect one - J]

Comment by Allan, on 25-Aug-2008 09:25

That's pretty photoshopped picture of Sue Bradford at the Greens link above Either that or she was 23 at the time it was tken...

Try one from the NZ Herald dated 28 Jan 2008.

Comment by Solomon, on 18-Jun-2009 15:08

Hi, my brother has recorded a song about this whole debacle - perhaps you'd like to take a listen :

or his site

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James Sleeman
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