Hard News by Russell Brown


What to Do?

I'm a little bemused by the sudden outbreak of shock and outrage at the referendum question "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?" Haven't we been looking at those words since the Clerk of the House approved them more than two years ago?

I suspect that what has happened is that the manifest unfitness of the question has only become apparent to many people on receipt of the Electoral Commission leaflet, which provides not so much information about the proposition as an advertisement for it.

But with John Key and Phil Goff now declaring that they will not vote, and Act's John Boscawen saying he'll vote, um, Yes (although he possibly just misunderstood the question) -- what's the proper course of action for people who don't want the law on hitting children changed or reverted?

From what I can see, there are three options:

1. Vote "yes", a la yesvote.org.nz (where they're describing Key and Goff's stance as "kicking for touch")

2. Throw the postal ballot in the bin.

3. Spoil the ballot and send it back.

Please note: this is not yet another debate about the law on "smacking". It's a question about how to respond to the referendum question -- and, further, on whether we need to change the rules on the way CIR questions can be constituted.


The comments for Talking Points Memo's Top 7 Conservative New Media FAILS So Far this Year include a debate about the acceptability of "Fail" as a noun.

I'm all for it. But the thing that strikes me is that the first time I heard "fail" as a noun was from the mouth of my younger son, long before it was the hip thing for grownups to say. Indeed, he once bellowed "Fail is a noun!" while sitting at his computer. Is this where all language starts these days?


From Tim Kong in yesterday's comments: how to set up your computer as an anonymous proxy for Iranian reform activists on Twitter.

The instructions are for MacOS X, but there's a link to Windows instructons too. It's reasonably straightforward and I'll be doing mine after our TV show is done today. I'm assuming it helps if you have a static IP address.


And a rather belated heads-up for something on tonight in Auckland:

The Ultravernacular Show, featuring Otis Mace, Gavin Buxton (formerly of the Ponsonby DCs, now of Christchurch) and Dunedin performance poet David Eggleton.

The always irrepressible Otis says he'll premiere his new song, 'Fit Tuck Ridge', and it's an opportunity to catch David during his spell in Auckland as writer-in-residence at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport

It's all on at The Wine Cellar, St Kevin's Arcade, Karangahape Rd, tonight, 8-10.30 pm and it costs $15. They're promising snap, crackle and pop.

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