In line with Ministry of Justice advice, the Government has decided not to hold the child discipline referendum at the same time as the election. You can read the entire advice document here:
Holding a referendum at the same time as the general election is not recommended because
“From 1999, we know that voters would be confused by the additional voting papers and would ask polling place staff questions about the issues and the process. Voters would take longer to mark their papers They would require help to find the right ballot box in which to place them.This would cause congestion and delays in the polling place.. [ and the count]…More polling place staff, including more inquiry officers, would be required to manage the additional workload…Combining CIR with the general election would increase the complexity of election day staff roles, the length and complexity of the training and the risks of staff training being inadequate “
Which is true. I was a Polling Clerk in 1999 and it was a nightmare.
The myth, invented by David Farrar, that holding a referendum separately from the election is more expensive is dispelled:
“To conduct referenda in conjunction with the 2008 General Election… would cost $7.3m… conducting referenda by postal vote in 2009 [would cost] $6.5m to $8.1”
Why isn’t a concurrent referendum cheaper? You don’t need polling place staff for a postal ballot but need more for one held with the election.
Predictably, National has used this as another hit and run attack, despite the fact that Key himself said on KiwiFm yesterday “we’ve got no intention of changing the legislation unless we see good parents being criminalised for lightly smacking a child, and we don’t see any evidence of that”.
Is this really the level our politics has sunk to? Dishonest attacks over the timing of a referendum on a law that doesn’t affect most people and was never intended to affect most people? Does anyone really think this matters? How about a serious debate about wage levels? Of course, National will do anything it can to avoid a debate on serious issues like that, which is why it fills the void with this pathetic pap.