Is Vote for Change sinking even before it sets sail


It’s interesting to see the disarray that the Vote for Change folk seem to be in. Yesterday’s Kiwiblog post on them has pictures of two crowd-sourced billboards – neither of which are logical*, let alone compelling. And then the comments underneath seem to be running majority in favour of MMP. If Vote for Change can’t muster a simple majority (ha ha) among the Kiwiblog comments you wonder where they are planning to get their support.

$10,000 in prize money to promote something, anything, we’re still not quite sure what yet, so long as it makes sure that some people’s votes are worth more than other people’s.

*e.g. the first billboard seems to have forgotten that Winston Peters came to power and prominence under First Past the Post, then lost his seat under MMP. And, as for the second billboard, surely the concern is supposed to be that tails wag dogs not that dogs wag tails?

Build your own referendumb

In the tradition of Build your own billboard (linked site from that post no longer active), you can now build your own referendum.

Here’s my effort:

smacking_over[EDIT: Original Image © Crown copyright – this edit added due to stupid and draconian copyright law.

Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have got them going into the gallery yet, as it is still reporting as “Nothing here at the moment.”

Hopefully that will be fixed shortly. [EDIT: It now is fixed.]

BTW, don’t forget to Vote Yes, despite the stupidity of the question. A yes vote is a vote against child abuse.

The communicator

Child discipline referendum chief petitioner Sheryl Savill is described in today’s Dominion Post as:

a “communicator” for a conservative critics say Right wing evangelical organisation, Focus on the Family.

But elsewhere in the article, the Dominion Post states:

Ms Savill, 40, has asked petition organisers not to give her contact details to the news media…

Seems the “communicator” doesn’t want to communicate right now, and has run off to hide from the media somewhere in the United States.

Anyway Sheryl, if you read this blog, you can still pull the plug on your stupidly worded referendum costing New Zealand taxpayers another $6 million. You’ve got until this Friday. Remember, only 18% of New Zealanders think progressing it is a good use of taxpayers’ money.

“Every” parent?

Larry Baldock on Campbell Live last night state:

“Every parent has become a criminal, whether they are charged or not.”

But Larry, um, I’m a parent and I’m not a criminal – at least not for that reason.  I haven’t assaulted my kids.

Maybe the quote was edited out of context, but surely the point he was trying to make was “every parent who assaults a child for the purpose of correction has become a criminal.”

Of course, even if that were his point, he would still be wrong because (a) the new law removes a defence against assault not smacking, and (b) he is using the term ‘criminal’ in the popular sense of describing someone who has committed a crime, rather than the legal sense of someone who has been convicted of a crime.  Legally, one solitary parent has become a criminal since the correction defence for assault was removed. And one is a lot less than every.

That ridiculous referendum

Well, look what turned up in my letterbox yesterday…


I was at a loss to understand how such a poorly worded referendum question could be approved. There are three obvious flaws in this referendum question:

  • It is a leading question, in that it predisposes the reader to a particular response. People find it diffficult to associate “good” with “criminal”, so the wording itself encourages people to respond “No”.
  • It is a misleading question. It implies that giving a child a smack is likely to result in a parent becoming a criminal. The evidence is that it is not.
  • It is an ambiguous question. The term “smack” is not defined in law, so the question will mean different things to different people.

So I took a look at the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act, under which this referendum has been proposed.

The Act provides that “The Clerk of the House of Representatives shall determine the wording of the precise question to be put to voters in the proposed indicative referendum”. But it gives the Clerk no guidance as to how the referendum question should be worded, and it seems that in this instance the wording proposed by Larry Baldock has been blindly accepted. Hence, it seems, a question that is deliberately designed to elicit a particular response can slip through the system.

It really is appallingly drafted legislation that can allow $9 million to be spent on a referendum question as biased and confusing as this one is.

As for how to vote, and despite the wording of this ridiculous referendum question, I’ll be taking my lead from the people at The Yes Vote:

  • A ‘yes’ vote is a vote to retain a law that is working well.
  • A ‘yes’ vote is a vote to protect children from assault.
  • A ‘yes’ vote is a vote for positive parenting.
  • A ‘yes’ vote is supported by Barnardos, Plunket, Save the Children, Unicef and many other respected child-focussed organisations.

Update: I see Danyl is taking the piss on the referendum as only Danyl can over at The Dim Post.

Yay for yes

It’s nice every once in a while to be able to say something is good and we should keep it rather than bad and it needs changing.

So ‘hooray’ for the crew at The Yes Vote with their great resources and ideas.

This is my favourite:

If it’s wrong to hit an adult, how can it be right to hit a child?yesvote-poster-if-its-wrong-to-hit-an-adult-thumb

I’ve added their banner to the side of for a while. If you’re generally of the view that the world has not fallen into catastrophic ruin since we lost the right to take to our children with large pieces of wood you might like to click on it and add your voice to their call to protect children from assault.