Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What to Do?

322 Responses

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  • Steve Barnes,

    That reminds me of the warning on Sky Tv
    "We advise the use of the parental lock out function"
    I always envision kids locking their parents out in the garden and settling in to watch porn.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    The referendum petition began before the law was passed. Then there was the late Clark-Key compromise, but the people gathering signatures carried on regardless, in the guise of opposing something that had since changed.

    So the referendum question could not simply call for a repeal, because the law did not exist at the time the petition started. I am not opposed to the principle of CIRs - who knows when we might need that tool? - but there is a serious problem when people are being asked to sign not only a petition, but a blank cheque.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Both of them have 'waded into the swamp', and come down quite clearly on the side of the current law. You can be impressed with them now.

    Jake: Pass. If they think the law is working why not vote in favour of the status quo? Instead I got a double helping of breakfast waffle -- and I prefer pancakes. :)

    Hey, I don't blame them if they'd rather not get into a fight that's frankly not worth the time and effort. But it would be nice if they were honest about it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    The last CIR in when, 1999? had not one, but six different questions in one statement/question - which was something to do with capital punishment from memory - all I really remember were the six questions - which one was I voting on?

    This CIR is no better. IMHO it requires a Masters in English to correctly interpret the question, so I suspect the bulk of voters will either look to a 'leader' for guidence i.e. church groups and the like, or throw it in the recycling bin.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    like the 'let's kick criminals in the nuts' one from a few years back which was actually three separate questions all run together.

    I deliberately spoiled my ballot on that one, it was so absurd. From memory, I wrote "refuse to answer -- question doesn't make sense" on the form.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    My view is that this measure might well pass, but not by over 50% of the electorate. Refusing to cast a formal vote undermines the credibility and helps Key and Goff to treat the result with the contempt it deserves.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Graeme: Thanks for answering my question before I asked it. Spooky! :)

    I think our best hope is to put about the idea that voting "yes" means "yes, I can smack my kids".

    Peter: With all due (and sincere) respect, you really think lying is a smart or ethical strategy? Personally, I'm predicting an extremely low turnout, which should give Key plenty of cover to stick to the position he's already signalled.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    (b) May take into account such other matters as the Clerk of the House of Representatives considers relevant.

    Ah, thanks Graeme, look at that, a big juicy 'and whatever else you want' clause.

    I'd still be happier with something that, up with the 'two answers' criteria, included a 'one question' criteria, and a 'neutral weighting' clause.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I don't believe one should dignify this exercise with a formal vote.

    Which is my response to this whole nonsense so far.

    However, I have voted religiously in everything since I was eighteen. That is because I believe in participating in civil affairs, even if just by reading the candidate blurb and voting. Every fibre in my being revolts at the idea of just not voting.

    If it can be confirmed that the number of spoilt ballots is counted and released, I would do that instead.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    and a 'neutral weighting' clause.

    And how would that work? I take your point, but I don't know if that's something the Clerk of the House should have to determine.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    If it can be confirmed that the number of spoilt ballots is counted and released, I would do that instead.

    I've sent an e-mail to the Election wallahs asking that very question. Will share when I get an answer.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Q. Should a swift and sure kick to Larry Baldock's bollocks as part of good societal correction be a criminal offence in NZ?

    A. Not at all. Where do I line up?

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    and a 'neutral weighting' clause.

    And how would that work? I take your point, but I don't know if that's something the Clerk of the House should have to determine.

    I don't know, I wish I did. The current system, however, where the question is written by one side of the debate, seems designed to produce poor questions, and that's certainly what it does. Even the uncontroversial firefighters' referendum was basically 'firefighters deserve and cuddle and a puppy' with a question mark bunged on the end.

    What we've got here is a situation where pretty much everyone can see that the question is fatally flawed, but there's nothing that can be done about it. Given the clerk has to vet the question anyway, that seems the logical place to insert further checks.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    A reminder (and a large caveat - I couldn't find the original article on the Stuff website, so pinched this off Family First!)

    The Press 16 May 2007

    A bill outlawing physical punishment is set to be voted into law tonight, two years after it was forced onto the political agenda. Opponents of the bill are now resting their hopes on a petition which seeks to force a referendum against the bill. But a referendum would not be binding and would not stop the law coming into force a month from now. A $35,000 advertising campaign is being run in major daily newspapers today by the petition organisers, who say they already have 180,000 signatures. They need 300,000 signatures to force a referendum. But tonight's vote is expected to overwhelmingly back the Sue Bradford-sponsored bill, after a compromise was thrashed out between Prime Minister Helen Clark and National Party leader John Key.

    (my emphasis)

    Therefore, the majority of signatories wanted a referendum on their fears. Not on the law.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    If we're going to expect the Clerk of the House to be the logic and good prose maven, the poor bastard (or bitch, to be non-sexist about it) is going to need serious danger money and counselling on tap. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Judy Callingham,

    I'm going to vote "yes" - as I see it if the bastards don't lose we'll never hear the end of them

    They won't lose, unfortunately, because they're the ones with the desire for action, so they're motivated. The more people who vote "yes" to this asinine question, the less crowing they'll be able to do after the event. Let's hope that apathy doesn't rule on this one.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2009 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    No no, parental correction. The correcting of parents.

    Oh I understand now. I thought it was wingnuts wanting to beat their kids again.

    But actually it will mean if I see someone being a bad parent I can give them a good smack. Well that sounds fun.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    "Paint me ignorant, but what is the point of defacing the ballot?
    It doesn't get counted and just adds to the cost of the operation, so why?"

    I have to agree with this. I know the question "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?" doesn’t make sense because at the moment as it isn’t illegal to smack as a part of good parental correction - so why ask the question? However, I believe if I don’t vote yes, I will be giving more power to those who opposed the law, for whatever reason the cling to, to claim they are the majority.

    I understand that the stupidity of the question is enough to enrage any sensible person, but the law is presently working as designed, I want to actively support it. I will vote for it with a yes.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • anth,

    The question makes no sense and needs to be mentally rewritten before it can be answered. I think I'll act as if it says "Should it be a crime to punch a four year old in the face or repeatedly hit a seven year old with a soup ladle?"

    Since Nov 2006 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And how would that work? I take your point, but I don't know if that's something the Clerk of the House should have to determine.

    I don't know if there are any relevant comparisons in nation-states, but I set up a students association constitution (referenda are binding on some matters, not on others) where the wording is open to submissions, but the final wording is set by the honorary solicitor of the association.

    Couldn't CIR be kicked to the Law Society or something for an independent body that isn't parliament or a subset of it, for the purpose of writing sentences that make sense and possibly have some use?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Darel Hall,

    I am not convinced that stupidity (in the view of many, most?) is a reason to change the law on referendums. Is stupidity a reason not to select or elect MPs, City Councillors or other politicians? I think you'll find the answer is no.

    Shouldn't the framers of referendums be free to choose to do something you might think illogical but which 10% of the population thinks sufficiently OK (by whatever criteria) to actively sign a petition asking for the question to be put?

    The restrictions on gathering signatures and how much you can spend are a high barrier to purely vexatious questions.

    The referendums are not binding.

    This referendum will be the fourth. The last was the Norm Withers one of four parts of which people might have agreed with enough of them to vote Yes:

    'Should there be a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences?'

    I don’t remember Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark attacking this referendum which is poorly written too.

    And I don’t think $9 million, or $36 over 16 years is excessive for the right of citizens to initiate non-binding referendums.

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Judy, Public Servant... et. al.:

    I get where you're coming from and totally respect that. But I don't want to "empower" people who think costly meaningless referenda are a worthwhile substitute for meaningful political action and policy debate.

    And if you're not going to pay me the respect of posing a question that doesn't make James Joyce look like Hemmingway, I'll repay the discourtesy.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    A few thoughts:

    1. Informal votes were not reported in 1995 but were reported (and here) in 1999. I've asked the Chief Electoral Office what will happen this time.

    2. I've asked (OIA) for a breakdown of the $9M budget. There were over 2.5M voters enrolled for the 2008 election, so that's about $3.60 per person.

    3. They may have estimated a high turnout for budget purposes, and if turnout is not that high then variable costs will diminish. Not defending the dollars, just a bit of perspective.

    4. Is CIR Act still relevant? Well, it was enacted in 1993 by the Bolger Govt in a very different New Zealand. We had just come out of six years of frantic change driven by Roger Dougals et al. Talkback was the most readily available medium for the angry and frustrated.

    4. Gathering signatures on a paper form was virtually cutting-edge technology.

    5. In 2009, we are a connected nation. (Can anybody find good recent data on internet access?) With media sites and blogs, virtually anyone can choose to interact: viz 15 Labour MPs on Red Alert. Trevor Mallard is soliciting views on specific questions.

    6. So I think much as I love the concept of CIR, it may well be timely to have another look at the operation of the Act.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    A friend of mine has suggested we could next have a referendum asking "Should a whack as part of good husbandly correction be a crime in NZ?"

    It's disappointing that the citizens intiated referendum process just seems to be a really costy opinion poll, except with questions that professional polling companies wouldn't use due to them being poorly written.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I am not convinced that stupidity (in the view of many, most?) is a reason to change the law on referendums. Is stupidity a reason not to select or elect MPs, City Councillors or other politicians? I think you'll find the answer is no.

    That's a good reductio ad absurdum, Darel, and if the Electoral Act was as nonsensical as the CIR Act I'd agree with you. Various politicians may be a waste of space, but I'm sure you'd have to grant that our elections are run under a rigorous and corruption-free framework. It's those damn electors who keep fucking up. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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