A strong showing of discontent with the smacking law

The Boss’s political sensors are sharp enough to have triggered his announcing a review of the rules for ministers claiming accommodation expenses in Wellington. Here’s hoping he’s getting the message on our child smacking legislation too.

It seems there’s a lot of opposition towards the law among our citizens. Politically significant opposition.

The review of ministerial expenses undoubtedly stems from public reaction to the first-ever release last week of expenses information, including accommodation and travel, claimed by MPs and ministers.

Perhaps most controversially, the data showed Finance Minister Bill English – our champion of fiscal discipline – receives a $700 a week housing allowance for a Wellington property his family has owned for several years.

As Radio NZ reports –

Mr Key says he believes a better system can be developed which will result in better value for the taxpayers’ money.

Good move. English’s use of the allowance, while he is in charge of the assault on government spending, is a bad look. But it’s the rules that are the problem, so let’s sort ‘em out.

Now let’s see how those political sensors work when it comes to the smacking referendum. According to NZPA –

The majority of New Zealanders think it is okay to smack children, that the current anti-smacking law is not working and they will vote no in the upcoming referendum, a poll shows.

The TV One News Colmar Brunton poll found 83 percent of New Zealanders questioned believed it was okay to smack children under some circumstances.

Two percent said it was okay under any circumstances and 14 percent said it was not okay under any circumstances.

A 2007 change to the Crimes Act made it illegal for parents to use force against children for “correction”, but also allowed police the discretion not to prosecute “inconsequential” cases.

Of those questioned, 63 percent said the current law as it relates to smacking and child discipline was not working. Twenty-five percent said it was and 12 percent did not know.

Your mail in recent days will have included papers for the postal ballot referendum currently being held.

The question to be voted on asks: Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

The poll showed 83 percent of people would vote no, 13 percent yes and 5 percent did not know or were not taking part in the referendum.

Most people (70 percent) said they would vote in the referendum, 24 percent said they would not and 6 percent were unsure.

Despite most people saying they would vote to change the law 76 percent of those asked did not believe the $9 million being spent on the referendum was a good use of taxpayers’ money.

Politicians have previously said the law as it stands was working, the referendum was part of the democratic process and they would listen to the public.

Key, Labour leader Phil Goff and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett have said they won’t vote but will take the chance to listen to public opinion.

Alf is urging those who think the law is not working tor make bloody sure they return their voting papers and don’t just toss ‘em in the bin like those politicians have done.

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