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.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Petition calling for referendum on "anti-smacking" law results unclear

It is unclear whether we have gained enough signatures on the petition calling for a referendum on the 'anti-smacking' law to have it put on the ballot paper.

The Kiwi Party leader put out this press release explaining the results.

Kiwi Party Leader and anti-smacking petition organiser Larry Baldock confirmed today that the preliminary results from Sheryl Savill’s petition to force a referendum on the question, ‘should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offense in NZ?’ was going to be very close to being just under or over the required threshold.

A total of 324,316 signatures were handed in on Feb 29th. To succeed in forcing a referendum it is required to have the certified signatures of 10% of those enrolled on the electoral role which on that day was 285,027. That would therefore require a success rate of 87.88% from the audit process undertaken by the Chief Registrar of Electors. A random sample of 29,501 signatures was taken and checked individually against the electoral role with 25,754 qualifying as certified correct.

Mr Baldock said “If I did my own simple maths on those figures we would then estimate that we had a success rate of 87.29%

“However I am informed by the Clerk that the Government Statistician needs 90 hours to complete a very complicated mathematical formula to officially ascertain the number of correct signatures. I have no idea why this must take so long and whether there will be any great variation from my simple maths. It begins to look like the Duckworth-Lewis system of determining the results in rain shortened One Day Cricket matches, and we all know how they turn out, usually in the other teams favour! said Mr Baldock.

The final result must be given to the Speaker of the House of Representatives no later than next Tuesday April 29th by the Clerk of the House.


So if you take 87.29% of the 324316 signatures collected we get 283095 correct signatures. That is 1935 signatures short. Lets see what the Clerk has to say on Tuesday.
Also posted at NZ Debate