Posts Tagged ‘Referendum’

Latest Smacking Law Review Offers No Comfort

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Family First NZ


7 December 2009

Latest Smacking Law Review Offers No Comfort

Family First NZ is dismissing yet another report on the anti-smacking law which fails to address the real issues and concerns over the law change.

“This is the eighth report in just over two years on the law change. There have never been so many reports in such a short time frame on a law change in an attempt to sell it,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The police have done six reports, a report from the ministry of Social Development, and now this report commissioned by the Prime Minister in response to the overwhelming rejection of the law in the recent Referendum.”

“We weren’t expecting miracles in this report because one of the panel members Peter Hughes from the MSD has only recently released a report where he admits that he cannot conclude whether the law is achieving its purpose, and he cannot conclusively say that good parents are not being criminalized or victimized by this law with unnecessary state intervention. This is primarily because he doesn’t talk to them!”

“A senior police office who examined the prosecutions of a number of parents as a result of the new law says that without exception, the public interest was not served in pursuing prosecutions.”

“In the latest report, it fails in the following areas:

  • it fails to address the concerns of kiwi parents as to what effect it has had on their parenting
  • it fails to address the issue of children dobbing in their own parents, and threatening to report them to the police or CYF
  • it fails to address the concern expressed by police and youth workers regarding the increasing rate of assaults by young people on their parents
  • it fails to address the procedural conflict between the smacking law which allows ‘discretion’ versus the family violence police which demands zero tolerance
  • it fails to address why so many cases of what are supposed to be ‘assaults’ are receiving inconsequential punishments, and why so many investigations are ending up with a warning and in many cases, no action at all
  • it fails to address the effect of criminalising an action (light smacking for the purpose of correction) which most NZ’ers simply don’t believe should be treated as a criminal offence under the law.”

“This report is another government-funded sales pitch for a flawed law which has been resoundingly rejected by New Zealanders. John Key promised ‘comfort’ for parents, but it’s not comforting when he ignores almost 90% in a referendum, and retains a law which he admits is a ‘dog’s breakfast’, badly drafted, and extremely vague.”

“A law that requires so many compromises, guidelines, helplines, reviews, and parent education could be easily fixed with a simple amendment-the Boscawen amendment. That’s what parents deserve” says Mr McCoskrie.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

Related document:

Review of New Zealand Police and Child, Youth and Family Policies and Procedures relating to the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act (pdf, 1675 Kb)

6,000 join ‘March for Democracy’

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

From Family First NZ e-newsletter

6,000 join

‘March for Democracy’

Protesters March on City NZ Herald Nov 21, 2009 READ MORE Herald on Sunday 22 Nov 09 READ MORE

TV3 News Full Interviews with Bob McCoskrie, Colin Craig and Garth McVicar WATCH HERE
Newstalk ZB Bob McCoskrie talks to Larry Williams before the March LISTEN HERE

Marchers want to meet PM

NZPA 22/11/2009
The organisers of this weekend’s “March for Democracy” say the Government’s response will determine how far and wide they take the campaign. READ MORE
Anti-smacking march may move to other cities
NZ Herald 23 Nov 09 READ MORE
Got a comment on this issue? Email

STOP PRESS: PM Agrees To Meet With March Organisers

Watch the Video of the “March for Democracy: TV3 coverage

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Hundreds march over government inaction

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Hundreds march over government inaction


Hundreds of Aucklanders marched up Queen Street today to protest at repeated government inaction on citizens-initiated referendums.

Organiser Colin Craig said the March for Democracy was being held to protest Government failure to respond to three citizens-initiated referendums: reducing the number of MPs; a more victim-centred justice system and amending the anti-smacking legislation.

On the march was the Thomsen family from Te Atatu Peninsula.

“I think it is important that the government knows that we have a voice,” said dad Ken, who marched with wife Serena, mother Orpa and children Daniel, 13, Asher, 11, Samantha, 8, and Sean, 5.

“The people that voted them in do need to be listened to,” Mr Thomsen said.

The protest was principally sparked by the anti-smacking law – almost 90 percent of people who voted in a referendum asking New Zealanders whether smacking should be illegal voted no.

The referendum cost $9 million and asked: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

The Chief Electoral Office said there was a 54 percent voter turnout. A total of 1,622,150 votes were cast with 87.4 percent in favour of repealing the controversial new law.

“We would like the government to take our voting and voice into much more serious account. We would like the government to return to their roots of representative government,” march organisers said.

“The recent ignoring of the recent Citizens’ Initiated Referendum, where 87.4 percent voters asked for change, is just one example of the trend away from listening to the people of New Zealand.”

“We the citizens of New Zealand demand that the government employ the principle of democracy; enacting laws in accordance with the wishes of the majority.’

Therefore, the march was demanding the smacking law be changed so that a light smack was not a criminal offence, said Mr Craig.

However, a review of the “anti-smacking” law has found no increase in the number of parents being investigated or prosecuted for light smacking.

The review was required by law two years after the change to Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which removed the defence of reasonable force for parents or guardians who hit their children.

In the report, Ministry of Social Development head Peter Hughes said he could find no evidence that parents were being subject to “unnecessary state intervention” for occasionally lightly smacking their children.

The number of police prosecutions for smacking remains at one, while there have been 14 cases of minor physical discipline resulting in prosecution.

Hughes said in his report he was satisfied that none of the prosecutions involved “inconsequential” smacks, with the victim being punched, slapped, or hit multiple times on various parts of the body in most cases.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said she thought the review went some way to comforting parents that the law was being interpreted in the way it was intended.

“However, in light of the Citizens Initiated Referendum on this issue, a further report is still being undertaken by Police Commissioner Howard Broad, Mr Hughes and (child psychologist) Nigel Latta,” Bennett said.

It is due with the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Police and Social Development and Employment before the end of the year.

That report will review policies and procedures to identify any changes that may be necessary to ensure that good parents are treated as Parliament intended and the provisions of the law are applied to those who abuse children.

Also on the march today were the proposer of the 99 MP’s referendum Margaret Robertson and Garth McVicar from the Sensible Sentencing Trust, representing the Norm Withers Law and Order Referendum.

Also marching was singer Yulia, who became a New Zealand citizen in 2005.

“As a young girl I grew up with the concrete dust of totalitarian based poverty and the ruin of a war torn post-communist Volgograd as my playground,” she said.

“Let us not take these freedoms for granted. Let us not forget the horrific price of totalitarianism. By marching for democracy we demonstrate that despite being from many cultures and backgrounds, we can get together and be one people under New Zealand democracy.”

Some of the more unusual placards included ‘Bring Back Dancing with the Stars’ and one calling for a referendum on former TrueBliss singer Carly Binding.

The march also had a group waving Maori sovereignty flags.

And as it moved up Queen St, the march passed a protest group from the Unite Union trying to organise a petition to raise the minimum wage.

Children’s Commissioner Dr John Angus said this week that the march was not in the best interests of children and parents would be better to spend more time with their children.

He said the march was also poorly named.

It was not about democracy but about re-instating a law that allowed parents to assault their children and claim a defence of reasonable force.

“I don’t believe that finding ways to define when and how children might be hit, at what age and what with, for purposes of correction is in any way connected to the best interests of children.”

But march organiser Colin Craig said parents knew better than Dr Angus what was best for their children.

“What worries me is that this tax-paid bureaucrat is trying to dictate once again to good parents what is best for their children.”

MSD report on anti-smacking law reveals more wasted paper

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

MSD report on anti-smacking law reveals more wasted paper

The Kiwi Party
Press Release

Kiwi Party Leader, Larry Baldock, said the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) report confirms there is no clear evidence anywhere that the law change is making children safer. If the Police and CYF continue to claim it is business as usual then how come politicians love to say, as the Minister has done again today, “that the law is working as intended!”

Mr Baldock asked, “Was the purpose of the law to make life difficult for good parents while achieving no significant benefit for the poor kids in this country who are being abused and killed on a regular basis?”

“Peter Hughes’ conclusion in paragraphs 2 & 79 basically reveals once again that he does not understand the reality of what has happened in the homes of good parents all over this country.

“He states, “In summary, I have not been able to find evidence to show that parents are being subject to unnecessary state intervention for occasionally lightly smacking their children.”

“On the contrary, State intervention occurred on a massive scale when 113 MPs passed a law making smacking a criminal offence.

When little Johnny or Susie comes home and tells Mum and Dad that the teacher told them they could report their parents to the police if they gave them a smack, that, Mr Hughes, is state intervention of the highest order and is why a massive 87.4% ‘NO’ vote occurred in our recent referendum.

“In paragraph 42 of the report Peter Hughes informs us that CYF has not altered its policy since the introduction of the ‘anti-smacking law’.  All that that confirms is that his department has had an anti-smacking policy in force for some time.  This will come as no surprise to those New Zealanders who have had dealings with CYF social workers and staff.


Larry Baldock

John Qweasal, Prime Minister of NZ – in-depth Interview on smacking referendum

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Should politicians have to listen to you?

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Please feel free share this information



Should politicians have to listen to you?

The politicians have a bad track record with citizen’s initiated referendums..

o          In 1999, 82% of NZ’ers said the number of MP’s should be reduced to 99 – the politicians ignored it

o          In 1999, 92% of NZ’ers said that the needs of victims should have greater emphasis, restitution and compensation should be provided, and there should be minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences – in response, the politicians reduced parole eligibility to 1/3’rd of sentences, instructed judges to impose the least restrictive sentence, and have made unenforceable token gestures towards victims

o          In 2009, 87.4% said that a smack for the purpose of correction should not be a crime under the law – the politicians ignored it

o          And some people believe that we need a referendum on the proposed Auckland ‘Supercity’ because of the major changes it makes to the form of citizen representation.

It’s about time the politicians got the message!

As you know, we are working with businessman Colin Craig on the March for Democracy

Colin Craig has been quoted as saying that he finds it “ deeply disturbing that such a clear message from the people of this country to government has been ignored. My forefathers fought for a democracy and in a democracy the government does not pass and retain laws that nearly 90% of the people don’t want. It is my turn to help fight for the rights of ordinary New Zealanders.”

Colin isn’t just talking. He’s putting his money where his mouth is. And we need to get in behind him.

As you can see, the purpose of this March goes even further than just the anti-smacking law. When NZ’ers and families speak with such a loud and united voice, as they have on these issues, the politicians must not be allowed to ignore them. It is significant that politicians are willing to accept democracy when it is to their benefit (i.e. getting elected!) but are willing to blatantly ignore it when suits their political agenda.

The March is not a one-off – it is part of a long term strategy to bring representative democracy back to NZ

Ironically, it appears that political parties are keen to accept petitions in their favour – United Future on daylight saving ,  Labour on night-classes – and they also support Referendums – National on MMP , Labour on the Auckland SuperCity , and the Greens on the Monarchy – but when it’s a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum, they suddenly go deaf!

When the law was passed in 1993 allowing referendums to be initiated by the people, senior National MP Sir Doug Graham said “ will be obvious that, if the public overwhelmingly supported a proposition contained in a referendum, clearly it would have great persuasive weight and any Government that simply ignored it would do so at its peril .”

PLEASE MARK 1.30pm SATURDAY 21 NOVEMBER (meeting at the bottom of Queen St Auckland) IN YOUR DIARY – AND MARCH FOR DEMOCRACY!

More details will be added to the website over the next couple of weeks

Thanks for your consideration.

Kind regards

Bob McCoskrie
National Director

The March for Democracy will be held

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

The March for Democracy will be held

1.30pm Sat 21 November, Queen St Auckland

Official Website :

More details to come
The ad campaign so far….