Organisers of a petition to force an election-day referendum on anti-smacking laws say they are just 5000 signatures short of their target.
They have until the end of this month to reach 300,000 and are confident they can do it.
Parliament passed the bill that outlaws smacking in May last year, and within weeks opponents were organising the petition against it.
Former United Future MP, and now leader of the new Kiwi Party, Larry Baldock said last night that the total was 295,000. "Technically, we only need 286,000 but we always aimed for 300,000 to make sure we have a bit of a buffer," he said. "We could lose 10 per cent or 20 per cent of them, so we'll continue to collect. But we're certainly going to have enough to meet the requirements on the 29th."
The buffer is needed because the signatures on citizen-initiated referenda are put through a rigorous checking process by electoral authorities.
Some previous petitions have been handed in with enough signatures but so many were lost during checking that they failed to meet the requirements.
The result of a referendum on the laws will not be binding on the Government.
The legislation bans the smacking of children as a punishment, although "reasonable force" can still be used to stop them harming themselves or others. -- NZPA
It's great to see that we are almost there, and it is also great news to hear that we only actually need 286,000 not 303,000.