Monday, March 26, 2007

Government Poll shows majority against smacking bill
NZPA | Monday, 26 March 2007

A new poll showing a majority of New Zealanders oppose Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill was released today ahead of another debate on it in Parliament on Wednesday.

The Research New Zealand poll, which questioned 497 people, found that nearly three-quarters opposed the bill and believed it was unenforceable.

Research New Zealand director Emanuel Kalafatelis said the poll showed 73 per cent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with the bill's provisions.

It also showed that 72 per cent of those questioned thought the bill, if it was to be passed into law, would be unenforceable.

The bill is designed to change the Crimes Act and remove the defence of "reasonable force" against assault on a child.

Opponents say it outlaws smacking, while supporters argue smacking is already illegal.

Mr Kalafatelis said the poll showed very little variation across age, gender, income, ethnicity and whether or not a household included children.

"The one difference that we found was that those aged 15 to 29 were more inclined to support the anti-smacking legislation than those in older age groups," he said.

Meanwhile a coalition of Christian families is paying for a full-page advertisement in newspapers tomorrow calling for signatures to force a
referendum on the issue.

More than 50,000 signatures have been gathered so far, with 300,000 needed within the next 12 months before the Government would have to arrange a referendum.

Opponents plan to march on Parliament on Wednesday, when the committee stage debate on the bill is due to resume.

If the Government puts Parliament into urgency on the bill, it could pass its final third reading by the end of the week.

Ms Bradford is confident she has at least 63 votes backing the bill. A majority in Parliament is 61.

And I say: *Ms* Bradford, so you think you have just over 50% of 121 MPs do you?  How's your concience *Ms* Bradford?  Consistently, polls have shown 80% of Kiwis are opposed to your bill."

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