Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Count on Anti-Smacking Petition Labelled ‘Incredibly Dodgy’

Family First Media Release 29 April 2008

Family First NZ is labeling the counting of the signatures on the anti-smacking petition as 'incredibly dodgy'.

"Despite a very thorough audit of a sample of signatures, the government statistician has applied a further margin of error against the number of signatures," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. "But margins of error go both ways, plus and minus, and it completely ignores the purpose and function of the previous thorough audit process."

"This would suggest that there is an agenda to try and 'kill' the petition."

Family First is still completely confident of success with the petition despite this setback and says the websites hosting the petition forms have been inundated with downloads of the petition form today.

"We have had almost 300 downloads just today on just the Family First website, and many emails requesting the forms," says Mr McCoskrie. "That is similar with other organisations hosting the forms."

"Despite the hopes and dreams of Labour and the Greens, this issue is not going to go away any time soon. Parents who opposed this law will get to be heard – no matter how hard they make it."

How many signatures were submitted?
How many were needed to force the referendum?
Only 285.027
How many were found invalid after the thorough audit?
The government statistician ( our emphasis added ) took a sample of almost 30,000 and found an 'invalid' rate of about 13% (pretty good considering Norm Wither's law and order petition had 20% invalid rate).
So that means 324,216 less 13% invalid = 282,067 - a shortfall of about 3,000?
Yes - that's what you would expect
But they're saying that the shortfall is 18,027; 15,000 greater than the sample would indicate
That's what the government statistician ( our emphasis added) is saying
So how did he get the extra invalid signatures numbering 15,000?
That's the million dollar question. They have literally plucked a figure out of the air (arguing 'margin of error' and despite their already thorough audit), said it's their 'best estimate' - and under the Act, they don't have to be accountable for how they came to that figure.

Do the organisers have extra time to collect the 15,000 shortfall
YES! 2 more months.
Have any more signatures been collected since the previous cut-off date?
Yes! Almost 20,000 (including 6,500 at the V8 races last weekend - gotta love those petrol-heads!)
So you have enough to force the Referendum?
You would think so, but based on the confusing and suspicious calculations made by the government statistician ( our emphasis added ) we will collect a buffer of 20,000 more signatures to be totally sure.

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