It seems I’m not the only one confused about the meaning of the question in the forthcoming referendum:
Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
I initially wondered if it was asking whether I should get the bash if I don’t look after the tadpoles properly.
I see John Key and Phil Goff have both said they think the wording is ambiguous and confusing.
And the Act Party’s intellectual heavyweight John Boscawen seems very confused too. In a questionnaire response published by The Hand Mirror, Boscawen replied:
Multi-choice questions (candidate’s answer is in bold):
In the forthcoming Child Discipline referendum New Zealanders should:
Vote Yes OR Vote No or Abstain
Candidate comment: Because I beleive (sic) parents should be able to correct their children’s behaviour. I have a private members bill promoting a change.
And we’re spending almost $9 million on this nonsense that is so badly worded that even the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition can’t understand it.
Well done Sue Bradford for putting forward a Member’s Bill to ensure questions in citizens initiated referenda are not ambiguous, complex, leading, or misleading. The child discipline one would fail on three of those four counts.
Let’s hope Sue’s bill is drawn in today’s ballot, or if not, the Government is prepared to take it up, as John Key indicated yesterday he is considering.