Saturday, April 26, 2008

Referendum Scaremongering from the Media

"Thousands of pro-smacking signatures invalid" - blares the headline on the NewstalkZB website. Firstly, it is absolutely normal in any petition, for a percentage of signatures to be declared invalid. Secondly, what is this reference to "pro-smacking signatures?" The question asked on the petition, "Should a smack as a part of good parental correction be a criminal offense in New Zealand" is as much pro-smacking as Sue Bradford is pro-smacking. The article continues, stating:
"It appears a decision on whether there will be a public referendum on the anti-smacking law will come down to the wire... has been discovered that thousands of the signatures are invalid and there may not be enough to reach the required level." - NewstalkZB, 24 April

TV3 joins in the scaremongering, with the following statement:
"Opponents of the law that bans smacking are waiting anxiously to find out whether they have collected enough valid signatures on a petition to force a citizens-initiated referendum." - TV3, 24 April
Neither of these two statements are correct. The law states that, following the counting of the signatures, the petition organiser is granted an extra two months to collect the number of signatures which has been found to be lacking. In this case, the number of signatures lacking is estimated to be about 3,000. Larry Baldock will have a good buffer of signatures by now, and when the Clerk tells us how many signatures we are short of (or in excess of) the required number, it will not be a problem.

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