Referendum

Maybe you received a paper in your letter box about a referendum. This is telling you about a vote in August. It is not a vote for a person. It is a vote about a question and you vote by post. The question is: Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand? This means: Should parents be allowed to smack their children?

Last year, Parliament passed a law which said that you cannot hit children. New Zealand has a big problem with child abuse. Some babies and small children have died because of the violent behaviour of parents and others. That is why Parliament passed this law. The police know that the law is really about violent hitting so they will not worry about parents who give their child a light smack.

However, many parents do not like this new law. They asked people to sign a petition. This is a piece of paper asking the government to change the law. If 10% of voters sign a petition, our law says that there must be a referendum.

Other people are not happy about this referendum. The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Labour Party say they will not vote because they do not like the question. It gives the idea that good parents smack their children. Many good parents do not smack their children. The Prime Minister also said that Parliament will not change the law so this referendum is a waste of money. It will cost about $9 million.

If you have changed your address, you need to change your enrolment details at a Post Shop or online at www.elections.org.nz. Information on that website is in many languages.






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