Email correspondence released today confirms the Prime Minister John Key turned down an offer to call off the referendum and save taxpayers money.
Kiwi Party Leader and Petition organiser Larry Baldock said he had made a genuine offer that could have put the whole matter to rest.
“It seems that the same man who rushed to make a compromise deal with Helen Clark and Sue Bradford in 2007 is no longer interested in finding sensible solutions,” said Mr Baldock
On April 18th, 2007 John Key’s reported position was very clear when he said, “If Labour really believes that ‘light smacking for the purposes of correction’ will not be outlawed, then they need to explain that. But no matter how you read this bill in its present form it will be illegal to ‘lightly smack for the purposes of correction’.
Last week, after fudging on the question for more than 4 years, Sue Bradford herself finally admitted on National Radio that every parent who uses a light smack or any reasonable force for the purpose of correction was now a criminal in this country, regardless of whether they are eventually prosecuted or not!
John Key then went on to say, “The way to send a strong message on child abuse is to make the law clear and precise and then to police it strongly and vigilantly. This bill as it stands does the opposite. For me, a result that sees the criminalisation of parents for a light smack is simply not on the table.”
In May 2007 the whole nation was shocked by the news that John Key was willing to suddenly change the National party’s position on the anti-smacking law and strike a compromise deal with Helen Clark and Sue Bradford.
I recall John Key explaining his actions then on the basis that the Anti-smacking law was a bad law, but since the Government had the numbers to pass it anyway, he felt responsible to do what he could to minimise the harm the law could cause to parents and families all over the country.
Now that he has the power to amend the ‘bad law’ he seems to have completely changed his position and thinks his amendment has made it into a ‘good law’. In the email reply to my offer, Wayne Eagleson wrote, “As the Prime Minister has indicated publicly on a number of occasions, the government is of the view that the current law is working.”
Perhaps the Prime Minister would take the time to explain to Glenn Groves who was recently convicted of assaulting his 7 year old son for nothing more serious than shoving him in the back, how well his amendment to the ‘bad law’ is working.
My proposed amendments as outlined in the attached correspondence (posted below) would remove the criminalisation of good parents,” said Mr Baldock.
From: Larry Baldock
Sent: Wednesday, 17 June 2009 2:23 pm
To: Hon. John Key (MIN)
Cc: Hon. Bill English (MIN); Wayne Eagleson (MIN)
Subject: Proposal to withdraw the referendum.
The Prime Minister,
June 16, 2009.
Dear Prime Minister,
In the interests of saving our country most of the estimated $9 million to complete the referendum, Sheryl Savill, the petition proposer, and myself would withdraw the referendum, (as per Sec 22A (1) of the CIR Act 1993) in return for an agreement by yourself to amend the current sec 59 of the crimes Act in the following way.
Delete the following sub clauses from the amended Sec 59,
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.
(3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1),
In this way, the criminalisation of parents who use some reasonable force to correct and train their children would be removed, whilst the other clarifications in Subsection (1) of the permissible use of reasonable force would remain.
Your amendment emphasising the need for the police to use discretion could also remain.
I would be happy to discuss these proposals with your officials and act promptly to call off the referendum and save the hard-earned money of the taxpayers of New Zealand.
On 18/06/09 11:45 AM, “Wayne Eagleson (MIN)” <Wayne.Eagleson@parliament.govt.nz> wrote:
The Prime Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf to your email regarding the s59 referendum.
As the Prime Minister has indicated publicly on a number of occasions, the government is of the view that the current law is working. On that basis, the Prime Minister does not support your proposed changes to the law.
With respect to the issue of the cost of the referendum, the Prime Minister said in the House yesterday that while he was concerned at having to spend $9 million, with a legal process having triggered the referendum it would be followed through on.
Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister on this issue.
Chief of Staff
Office of the Prime Minister
Ph: 64 4 817-9365 or 64 21 709 067