Friday, June 26, 2009

"... a damning indictment. "

This is possibly the best summary of the week. From the Maxim Institute;

The continuing debate over the referendum on child discipline took a turn for the surreal this week, with politicians from across the spectrum lining up to attack the referendum question as nonsensical, saying things like "the law is working" and "the question is weird."

The question we are supposed to answer does not seem hard. "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?" Committed to his brokered "compromise" John Key can't afford to admit the law is not working. Phil Goff can't afford to offend elements in his own party, ideologically committed to the ban on physical discipline. And neither of them want to ignore the large majority of Kiwis who keep telling pollsters they support a good parent's right to make disciplinary decisions.

So, they pretend contempt for the question, and count on a low turnout.

This in itself is a damning indictment. The growing popularity of referenda and public distrust in politicians, are the products of people feeling that the government is distant, that they don't care what we think. Regardless of the merits of the question (whose limitations are unavoidable given that it must be a yes/no question) the gist of the referendum is clear to both the Yes and No campaigns, and the public should have their say on it.

Contempt for the democratic process is far too general across the spectrum—from Parliament, when it abuses urgency, to leaders when they disregard the feedback they are receiving from constituents. Luckily for the country, our democracy does not belong to them alone—it is a precious right belonging to all of us. From the end of July, we should all do our duty and value the imperfect but vital process of democracy—especially when others are not.

5 comments:

Alan said...

Well said Lindsay, It comes down to the simple fact that Key is
being undemocratic when he says he will probably not interfere with
the law as it stands, despite a
majority of the citizens of this
country wanting it changed. He
is a typical politician, power
corrupts.

Lucia Maria said...

Yep.

ZenTiger said...

To give credit where it is due: Well caught Lindsay, and well said Maxim Institute.

Are you really sure it is John Key though? Zoltar says John Key trapped in 6 year old's body

Redbaiter said...

Mitch listening to Maxim???

Stunning..!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the question is crap. Who the fuck are you or the government to decided on what is "good parental correction" or "bad parental correction". Plus Boscowen doesn't even know which way to vote.

The question should have been: should smacking be legal in NZ

That's it. Beginning and end. And 90% of the population would have voted YES and known just what they were voting for!