New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters today reiterated his belief in the right of his fellow caucus members to exercise a conscience vote on the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill and offered an explanation as to why he would be voting against it at its third reading.
"I believe that the process the bill has taken through parliament has been fundamentally flawed partly due to parties whipping their members in to line rather than allowing them a conscience vote," said Mr Peters."'Smacking' is already a crime under current legislation and careful reading of the proposed bill shows that it will not achieve the aims that the member sponsoring it would like it to. The problem with the bill is that while it will allow 'light smacking', it will do so under circumstances almost impossible to interpret.
"It is my view that, although the existing law would benefit from being amended, Sue Bradford's proposal provides no real and workable solution.
"For the reasons outlined above I will not be supporting the bill at its third reading," concluded Mr Peters.