New petition for smacking law referendum

Last updated 13:59 14/05/2008

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A second petition seeking a citizens-initiated referendum linked to the law that bans smacking has been handed in to Parliament.

The first petition was for a referendum asking the question: Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

It was handed in at the end of February with 324,316 signatures, but after they were checked for validity there were only 269,500 – less than the 10 per cent of enrolled voters which has to be reached for a referendum to be held.

The petition that was handed in today is for a referendum that would ask: Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in New Zealand?

Organiser Larry Baldock, the leader of the new Kiwi Party, said it carried 300,000 signatures.

That means it is likely to fail the validity check test as well, in which case he will have another two months to collect extra signatures.

Mr Baldock said the first petition had now gathered 350,000 signatures, and would be re-submitted.

"We now await, once again, a seemingly bizarre audit process to be carried out," he said.

Thousands of signatures on the first petition failed the test because the names could not be found on the voters' roll, they were illegible, or they were duplicates.

-NZPA

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