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Still voting yes

Written By: - Date published: 9:13 am, June 18th, 2009 - 86 comments
Categories: child discipline - Tags:

I fully understand the political reasons for both Key and Goff not voting in the upcoming referendum. Neither want to have an official position that either puts them on the side of the child-beaters and against a law they recently voted for, or that puts them on the side that may well be heavily defeated. It suits both of them for the importance and legitimacy of the referendum to be undermined by pointing out the appallingly loaded and leading wording.

But I’m going to be voting yes, and all the other Standardistas I’ve asked will be voting yes too.

It seems to me there’s a simple choice here. Vote Yes and stand beside organisations like Plunket, Barnados, Save the Children, UNICEF, Women’s Refuge, and the Families Commission who are out there every day working to give vulnerable children a better life. Vote No and stand beside the lady who successfully used reasonable force as a defence for attacking her children with a horsewhip and the man who look to his child with a pipe. Voting No means standing beside those who think it should be OK to assault a child in a manner that would be illegal if the victim was an adult. Or you can stand on the sidelines and do nothing to oppose the child-beaters and their paid apologists, which seems like a cop-out to me.

I’ll be voting Yes. I hope you will too.

[just a note: a certain blogger who calls himself a ‘classical liberal’ but has come out for the no vote just so happens to own a polling company which has Family First as a client. Values for sale it seems]
– Marty G

86 comments on “Still voting yes ”

  1. jcuknz 1

    I am not confused by the question and most certainly I will be voting NO. But it is important that neither political leader should at this stage indicate how they are going to vote since they are supposed to act on the result .. if they have the gumption.

  2. Or to put it another way: vote no, and side with the vast majority of actual parents; or vote yes, and side with the people who believe you’re a criminal because you smacked your kid that time.

    • bill brown 2.1

      Assault of a child was illegal pre the law change.

      The law change has taken away the defence of correction for hitting a child should you make it to court.

      • djp 2.1.1

        This is daft

        Assault of *anyone* is illegal (generally speaking)… there are defences that make it legal in some cases (eg. personal defence, police in some circumstances, etc..)

    • derwar bape 2.2

      “side with the majority iof actual parents???? I’m an actual parent. I’ve smacked my kids – it was never “good parental correction” – I just lost my rag. Let’s be honest, that’s how smacking happens 95% of the time. If you’re in the tiny camp that believes in the strap in the drawer and “wait till your father gets home” discipline, then I pity your kids.

  3. Lew 3

    Voting “yes”, and encouraging everyone else who is pissed off with the question or considering casting an informal ballot to vote “yes”, is the only rational approach for those who want to see the back of the anti-anti-smacking lobby.

    The only way those of us who don’t want the right to assault children protected by law can win this referendum is if the “yes” and “informal” voters are coordinated in their approach and vote together to outnumber the “no’ voters. To my mind, that means coordinating to vote “yes”, rather than vote informally, since many people simply will not vote informally out of respect for the institutions of democracy. However, there’s a risk: if enough people vote “yes” to yield a high turnout, and the “no” vote still wins, they’ll be able to claim a stronger mandate on the grounds that the anti-smacking lobby tried, and failed to oppose the anti-anti-smacking lobby. This means a unified approach is critical.

    My reasoning is documented more thoroughly and formally here.


    • Maynard J 3.1

      But if you overly-unify and try and formalise that unification, you draw attention to it, thus increasing the chances of a ‘yes’ defeat looking like a genuine one.

      A loose approach will prevent this – as you say, “trying and failing will mean a worse loss than just plain old failing”. Vote MEH (but really, vote yes 😉 ).

      • Lew 3.1.1


        But if you overly-unify and try and formalise that unification, you draw attention to it, thus increasing the chances of a ‘yes’ defeat looking like a genuine one.

        Indeed. The trouble is that, outside crafty people on blogs, most people will need a good, clear reason to vote. Playing signalling games will confuse an already-confused issue.


        • Maynard J

          Hence ‘the YES vote’ I suspect.

          I will be quite interested in the results of this. Still suspect the noes will have it.

          • Lew

            Exactly, hence the yes vote. I suspect they will, too, but since the campaign to GOTV is already underway, it should be all hands to the pump.


        • Bill

          Maybe this has already been said in previous threads, but…

          To mount a ‘yes’ campaign will require a hell of a lot of energy. Energy that would be better spent on issues that actually matter. (Nothing will change because of the referendum anyway.)

          A ‘yes’ campaign would have to overcome the natural inclination to vote ‘no’ on the basis of common sense. Common sense says that a skelp should not be criminalised. And the question would have us believe that a skelp is currently a chargeable criminal offence.

          A ‘yes’ campaign will not have the penetration necessary to combat the natural dynamic generated by the question towards a ‘no’ vote.

          If any energy is going to be expended on this, it would be better spent highlighting the illegitimacy of the whole shabang with the aim of trashing the vote.

          • Lew


            If any energy is going to be expended on this, it would be better spent highlighting the illegitimacy of the whole shabang with the aim of trashing the vote.

            Except that would require a much higher expenditure of energy because it takes a lot of convincing to make people deface a ballot rather than just tick a box.

            Your argument is inconsistent, because on the one hand it holds that the expenditure of energy is not justified to defeat the measure, and then advocates expending more energy on a strategy which is less likely to defeat the measure.


          • Bill

            A non vote = a trashed vote.

            The ‘no’ vote is going to win by a very large margin amongst those who vote because of the appeal to common sense embedded in the question.

            But it won’t mean a thing. It’s not a measure that you aim to defeat. It’s an impotent referendum.

            A lot of energy will be wasted on a failed ‘yes’ vote ( lack of penetration) while less energy will be required to pull the total numbers down is all I’m saying.

            But knock yourself out if you must.

          • Lew


            The ‘no’ vote is going to win by a very large margin amongst those who vote because of the appeal to common sense embedded in the question.

            You might be right.

            But the question is so confusing that it’s possible many people won’t vote (because they can’t be arsed trying to decipher it), and others will think they’ve deciphered it and vote yes when they mean no. John Boscawen has already made this elementary error, and if he can, so can anyone.


          • Bill

            Isn’t the lack of a need to decipher the crucial point that plays to the ‘no’ vote?

            If read in a straightforward manner, then most people will be inclined to vote ‘no’ even although they would to vote ‘yes’ if they were aware of the dishonesty built into the question….and that’s the only point where deciphering comes into it.

            No deciphering required to get a result skewed in favour of a ‘no’ vote.

          • Anita

            Someone I know who is well clever voted the wrong way of the firefighter referendum because it, like this one, was a no-means-yes form:

            Should the number of professional fire-fighters employed full-time in the New Zealand Fire Service be reduced below the number employed in 1 January 1995?

  4. Redbaiter 4

    “It seems to me there’s a simple choice here”

    That’s right there is-

    Take the chance to tell elitist interfering do gooding fat arsed scum like Bradford to stay the hell out of our lives, or let that chance go by.

    • Maynard J 4.1

      “or let that chance go by.”

      Or say that you want the Govenment to continue to be a force for good, despite the gnashing and wailing from rabid, self-indulgent and society-destroying loons that skulg among the fringes of the right.

  5. Ianmac 5

    The NO voters who seem to get a kick out of hitting kids (lovingly???) perhaps could instead hit each other. Have meetings where they could slap each other on the face or get excited by smacking each other on the bottom (lovingly). They could become SLAP (Slappers Lovingly Adult Plan.)

    • daVince 5.1

      Ianmac, lemme know when you’re doing the slap vote thingy.. I’m a yes for it..

  6. vto 6

    I been in the boondox last few days and came out to hear Bradford claiming the referendum question is loaded, confusing, ambiguous, etc. So I listens for the next news to hear an explanation of why it is so. No explanation. All day long, nat radio, no explanation. Only the statement that the qstn IS ambiguoug, confusing etc. Overnight, this morning’s paper, still no outline of the confusing aspect.

    Talk about useless reporting.

    So what is the confusing aspect? It seems quite clear to me what the qstn is asking.

    And btw it is bitterly disappointing that Key has joined the ranks of politicians who, once they hold the reins of power, consider that only they are capable of understanding life’s complexities and the ‘yucky smelly’ public have no idea. But it is not surprising. Freakin’ arrogant twat..

    • Lew 6.1


      It’s confusing because to answer it, you have to accept the AAS lobby’s contentious arguments that a. a smack can be part of good parenting and b. that the s59 repeal has made such illegal.

      Referendum questions shouldn’t require the electorate to read between the lines. They should be clear and explicit and contain all the information necessary to make a judgement and provide an answer.


      • Redbaiter 6.1.1

        Bullshit Lew.

        People just need to vote yes or no.

        What the fuck could be more simple??

        I know you will vote yes.

        So do it, Admit you’re one of those who wants to do good and interfere and regulate and punish and smear. So vote yes. Go for it and stop trying to justify it with a load of self serving bullshit.

        There’s never been any doubt in my mind about what you are,

        So go ahead, vote yes and shut the fuck up with the nauseating bullshit..

        • Lew


          People just need to vote yes or no.

          The question is simple to you because you accept the premises. But the premises aren’t universally acceptable, and people who don’t accept them are in a tricky situation.

          I know you will vote yes.

          I’ve declared dozens of times that I’ll vote yes. It’s not like you’ve perceived my secret inner nature.

          Admit you’re one of those who wants to do good and interfere and regulate and punish and smear.

          I stand for children to have the same right to be free from assault as anyone else. Even assault by their parents.


          • Redbaiter

            Yes Lew, of course. People are completely unable to make decisions, judgements, bring up their children, live their lives, without do gooders like you interfering and regulating by means of government and the poltiicians you vote for.

            Where would be be without socialism and people like you?

            I mean, NZ could have descended from a virtual South Pacific paradise into a bottomless abyss of despondency and hopelessness with 25% of its population choosing to live elsewhere and one of the highest rates of crime and violence and welfare dependency in the world couldn’t it??

    • Chris G 6.2

      vto I dont know how you found it so tough to get a description of why the question is loaded. toad linked to one the other day re. the greens bill for referendum questions.

      Or if you had any background in statistics in which they discuss loaded questions and things like this, then you might have a fair idea. OR I think more importantly if you took of ur tinted glasses you might fully understand.

      FYI vto

  7. Lew 7

    Incidentally, DPF’s position, although I disagree with it, is consistent with a classical liberal philosophy which argues that ultimate responsibility for childrearing rests with parents, not with the state, and that the state should act only in extreme cases. It’s not a matter of values being for sale, because it’s hardly as if his position on this matter is inconsistent with his other positions on similar matters.


    • djp 7.1

      Marty is probably smart enough to understand that Lew… but if he wasn’t obtuse about it then he wouldn’t be able to use the “votes for sale” line

  8. vto 8

    Thanks Lew, I suspected siimilar.

    But in reality that is simply pedantry gone mad. People understand the referendum – the result will give a good indication of the public’s view of Bradford’s anti-smacking law.

    Its not as if the referendum is binding, so the exact wording is somewhat immaterial.

    Bradford is merely indulging in diversion tactics to try and stymie an attack on her law. Tough titties Bradford. The public are about to express their opinion. And that is good.

    The claim of confusion, ambiguity, etc is weak.

    The public will speak. And oh my giddy aunt it will be interesting.

    • Lew 8.1


      People understand the referendum the result will give a good indication of the public’s view of Bradford’s anti-smacking law.

      That’s what Baldock et al are hoping – that people will vote their gut rather than the actual question they’re asked. This is a subversion of the CIR process, and the purpose of The Yes Vote campaign is to subvert that subversion.

      Its not as if the referendum is binding, so the exact wording is somewhat immaterial.

      Right. It’s a symbolic issue, and already a dead letter as the PM has declared no change either way. But symbolic issues matter.

      The public will speak. And oh my giddy aunt it will be interesting.

      No argument there.


    • Chris G 8.2

      “People understand the referendum” Bullshit
      “The result will give a good indication of the public’s view” Bullshit.

      I think the voter turnout will be much less than local body elections (Which are a crock also) … hardly indicative of ‘the public’

  9. Whacky Lefty 9

    Key & Goff are playing a power game of Representative Democracy over Particapatory Democracy. They have the power & want to keep it.

    So whatever your view please vote and send a message about Particapatory Democracy.

    I’ll be voting YES.

  10. jarbury 10

    I’m going to vote yes AND write on my ballot form all the reasons why this is a stupid question.

    • Merlin 10.1

      You would be surprised how many people leave little messages on their ballots. Just make sure that your voting intention can still be clearly made out and it will count.

      In Aussie, where voting is compulsory, there’s a bit of a tradition of spoiling ballots by writing insults on them 🙂

  11. Redbaiter – please explain why hitting a child is an acceptable means of communication when hitting an adult is a crime? When a teacher hits a student it’s a crime…but you think kids at home should somehow have LESS protection than an adult or a child at school? Jesus what planet are you on?

    • Pat 11.1

      A two or three year old who runs towards a road (say just after Mum has unclipped him from his car-seat) – I think it would reasonable for Mum to smack him on the back of the hand as she growls him, to reinforce the message of danger.

      The example above would be pretty common and usually happens from start to finish in less than 10 seconds.

      • Lew 11.1.1


        A two or three year old who runs towards a road (say just after Mum has unclipped him from his car-seat) I think it would reasonable for Mum to smack him on the back of the hand as she growls him, to reinforce the message of danger.

        This would not be an offence as s59 still allows for reasonable force to be used to prevent harm. in fact the example you cite is the very first used in the Police Practice Guide to illustrate behaviours which are not an offence:

        Preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person
        This subsection allows reasonable force to be used to prevent or minimise harm to the child or another person. For example, to stop a child from:
        • running across a busy road

        (from http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/3149.html )

        The repeal only applied to use of force for the purpose of correction.


        • Pat

          Thanks for that. It highlights that parents find the whole issue confusing i.e. if other people are around, what do I do?

          Whereas my interpretation of reasonable force in this example would be: smack on the hand or bum = OK, slap across the face = not OK.

          • Lew

            Pat, yeah, I agree there’s a lot of confusion about the issue. But in my view the majority of this confusion is down to scaremongering about the repeal making criminals of good parents, which it hasn’t even looked like doing.


        • djp

          Actually this is an example of force for the purpose of correction.

          Once she has the child in hand he is no longer running towards the road the smack is to: “reinforce the message of danger”

          ie. force for the purpose of correction.

          • Lew


            Grey area which relies on intent and precise circumstances. The defence would be employed by any lawyer worth his salt, even if the police were damfool enough to press charges.


          • djp

            Lew, you might be right a decent lawyer could get one out of it but it is still *very* arguably an illegal act under the current law

          • Graeme

            I believe the intent of the amendment to the bill that enabled reasonable force to be used in these circumstances was to mollify the complaints that were being levelled at the bill that it would be illegal to pick up a child who was about to run onto the road.

            You might get off if there was a smack, and the police probably wouldn’t charge you, but the section is not designed to list circumstances in which something like smacking is legal. It’s directed at other forms of force – like picking up.

      • Merlin 11.1.2

        Try to keep up Pat

  12. Maggie 12

    If Adult A and Adult B indulge in a heated debate and one pokes the other in the chest with a finger that is an assault. An attempt could be made to a lay a complaint with the police.

    The police would no doubt point out that while technically an assault, poking someone with a finger does not warrant a charge being laid. They might even volunteer to speak to the transgressor and explain that going around poking people isn’t a very good idea.

    It is called technical assault. I doubt it is recognised in law, it is just commonsense.

    A single light smack on a kid’s bum fits the same category, Maybe unwise but not warranting a charge.

    I am sure people like Family First understand and support the principle involved in the first example. For the second example, however, they scream hysterically about good parents being criminalised, even though they cannot produce a single example where this has occurred.

    Protecting children from violence is one of the most important roles of any state. We still have people who believe belting a kid with a weapon is “reasonable force”.

  13. jarbury 13

    appleboy, do not try to have a sensible conversation with Redbaiter. That’s the first thing one should learn when reading comments threads on New Zealand blogs.

  14. Redbaiter 14

    “Jesus what planet are you on?”

    I’m on a planet that was a lot easier to live on and a lot better overall before you interfering fucked in the head socialists showed up.

    Get out of my life arsehole. I don’t need any arrogant godless half educated spiritually bankrupt communist telling me how to raise my children.

    • Lew 14.1

      Ye gods, Redbaiter has little baiters …


    • Pascal's bookie 14.2

      “I’m on a planet that was a lot easier to live on and a lot better overall before you interfering fucked in the head socialists showed up.”

      like back when you could rape your wife and stuff, and the bloody government knew well enough to leave well alone?

      after all what part of ‘my wife’, and ‘my kids’ don’t they understand. Get off my fuckin lawn, bloody socialkids.

    • Chris G 14.3

      Good lord. it has kids.

      Do they get daily ulcers like you due to your rage? You know red, you should squeeze a stress ball or something. All that anger isn’t good for you.

      Always love it how redbaiter ignores that the rise of neo-liberalism can correlate with all his ‘stats’ – one eyed dumbass.

    • daVince 14.4

      godless suggest you apologise to readers here for the use of that word, else deservedly lose all credibility..

      [lprent: that is a question for the moderators. Not you]

      • daVince 14.4.1


        please explain.. are you not also readers.. and why can’t my remark stand in relation to you also..

        [lprent: Because we run the site, sweat effort maintaining it, and don’t tolerate guests standing in judgment on each other’s behavior. It leads to noisy and outright annoying flamewars.

        So the moderators will deal with it if one of us feels it is appropriate. We’ve seen close to a 100k comments on this site, and all of us have had experience in other forums as well. It is easy for us to recognize the signs of actions that breach site policy. Our actions have a certain finality about them. Yours merely are noisy and have no weight because you don’t have admin access.

        If someone is going over the bounds, then you can comment on it, but may not demand a particular course of action be followed. Read the policy. ]

        • daVince


          thank you for that, though I have never before been said to be demanding anything upon a simple suggestion..

          thanks also for addressing the offender.. makes for a partial balance, though again I suspect (and no I shall not go into it) that you and perhaps fellow moderators have no real notion of the insult this commenter made to all readers.. yes, if he’s a believer he knows, and if you aint you don’t.. some things get lost along time’s path..

  15. Redbaiter 15

    “like back when you could rape your wife and stuff,”

    Looked at the rape stats since socialism became ascendant fool??

    Looked at the family breakdown stats?

    Looked at the violence stats??

    Looked at any measure of societal breakdown??

    You head in the sad religionist fuckwit.

    You’re so immersed in your socialist religion you woudln’t know if someone was up you with a fresh pineapple.

    [lprent: I realise the topic is controversial, but you’re starting to inflame my anti-trolling instincts. Figure out how to attack the topic rather than abusing those that disagree with you. ]

    • Pascal's bookie 15.1

      So that’s a ‘yeah’ then.

    • Anita 15.2


      Any chance you’re planning to supply (links to) those stats?

    • fraser 15.3

      “Looked at the rape stats since socialism became ascendant fool??

      Looked at the family breakdown stats?

      Looked at the violence stats??

      Looked at any measure of societal breakdown??”

      so rampant consumerism and full blown pursuit of the self has nothing to do with these issues?

      sorry – back to the topic at hand (and as you probably have already correctly predicted RB – im voting yes)

      • Redbaiter 15.3.1

        “so rampant consumerism and full blown pursuit of the self has nothing to do with these issues?”

        Look at all those countries dumbarse. Across the globe, socialist countries are almost always there with the worst stats.

        Socialism has ruined New Zealand.

        And every other country where it has become an ascendant political and social force.

        • So Bored

          Hey Redwhatever,

          You are nominated for a Golden Tedium Award.

          This auspicious prize is reserved for those who manage to bore the rest of us witless with errant logic and abusive invective.

          The prize comes with an anger management course, and a dictionary which includes the spelling of the word YES.

  16. Maggie 16

    Confucius say: “Debating with waste of space is waste of time…”

  17. sweetd 17

    All this referendum talk is funny, considering the left is strongly advocating for a referendum for the Auckland super city, where as, at the moment, we can’t even agree on the question regards this current referendum.

    It seems clear, that complex issues can not be decided by a simple referendum.

    • jarbury 17.1

      The Super-City referendum could be pretty straightforward though:

      Do you support the changes to Auckland’s local government, or not?

      People will weigh up whether the changes (once they’re finalised) are better or worse than what they have at the moment, and vote accordingly. If the result is “no” then I would push for having a second referendum a couple of years later and allowing the government time to redraft the legislation.

      btw, if some basics were fixed up I would definitely vote yes.

  18. Deborah 18

    Yes … I’ll still be voting YES too! Not voting grants the no voters the clear space they want. A YES vote is still the very best way to stand up for non-violent parenting and for children to have the legal protection they need.

  19. sweetd 19

    What if, I support some of the changes, but not all. Is there an option to allow it to be kicked back to some sort of committee for another reading? How would we know what changes people agreed with, if any? Unless, we had a vote for every single change.

    • jarbury 19.1

      Like I said, people would balance up the final result against the status quo, and choose which option – of those two – they prefered. They might both be imperfect, but in the end it’s likely you’d prefer one over the other.

      If the no vote won, then there should be provision to revisit the issue after legislation has been changed. (Basically a no vote would kick it back to another select committee). If you got no a second time, then the people have spoken – work out a way to enhance the powers of the ARC and work with what we’ve got.

  20. RedBaiter – so NZ is a “bottomless abyss of despondency and hopelessness with 25% of its population choosing to live elsewhere and one of the highest rates of crime and violence and welfare dependency in the world couldn’t it??”.

    That’s a statement of your own negative wee outlook, not reality. So according to you kiwis should stay here and never leave our little nation, which is the size of Sydney.So then, Irish peopel should all stay home and never live anywhere else? More people arrive here every month than ever leave, so there goes your theory. Crime – yeah crime reporting is up 30% in the last 25 years as a proportion of news coverage…unlike the actual crime stats.

    Where does such anger come from? only the extreme right splutter with such vile…I notice you NEVER respond on topic and NEVER answer without vile and anger. What’s with that?

    I challenge you again to explain using thought and logic rather than angry diversions why hitting a child is an acceptable means of communication when hitting an adult is a crime? When a teacher hits a student it’s a crime but you think kids at home should somehow have LESS protection than an adult or a child at school?

  21. Tigger 21

    Wow, seems just about everyone wants a personal audience with Key at the moment….
    “Mr McCoskrie said he was writing to Mr Key asking for a meeting so he could deliver his evidence.”

    Good luck with that Bob.

  22. millsy 22

    Right then, I am voting YES.

    As I said before, if ‘good parents’ dont want to be criminalised, then they shouldnt hit their kids. Simple as that. You want to hit someone to get your rocks off, join a bondage club. They arent that bad.

  23. Redbaiter 23

    I challenge you

    I reject your challenge, becasue it isn’t really challenging. I’ve really got better thngs to do than respond to the illgoical and emotional witterings of twelve year old ignorami.

    • Anita 23.1

      hello what?

      • Maynard J 23.1.1

        Were you expecting a rational response?

        Redbaiter can not see the difference between NZ, 2009 and Mao Zedong’s China during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. When you are so far over on the other side of the spectrum everything vaguely ‘left’ is as ‘left’ as anything else, and centrist is probably “Communist Roading” (if you get the ref).

    • The Voice of Reason 23.2

      The plural of igoramus is, as any fule kno, igorameses, not ignorami. How do I know? A free, socialist education. Something Baiter Jnr will have to get by without, I suppose.

      • Zetetic 23.2.1

        I’m sure Baiter Jnr gets his socialised education, and his socialised healthcare. I’m sure Baiter makes use of our socialised road networks, police, defence, healthcare directly himself. And he benefits from our socialised poverty reduction, education, etc etc as well.

        Then he comes and has a cry about it because he wants all of that plus no taxes.

        Everything else is just a superstructure on that one underlying grumble -‘I don’ts likes taxes, I don’t’

  24. Redbaiter – you are tragic. Best you go back to your “abyss of despondency and hopelessness” and while you’re there..leave the ‘kids’ alone ..and the wife…if they exist..they have hopefully got out of that abyss years ago….

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