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Key's rush to hide on Section 59 comes unstuck

Key's rush to hide on Section 59 amendment comes unstuck

Justice Minister Annette King today said that John Key has shown breathtaking ignorance of the problems caused when referenda are held at the same time as a general election.

"The problems became abundantly clear in 1999. All John Key is trying to do is to hide the fact that he and his party actually voted for the Section 59 Amendment, the so-called anti-smacking amendment," she said.

"The Chief Electoral Officer provided advice to me in March this year. His advice is very clear. He recommends a postal ballot be held if the petition calling for a referendum on the Section 59 Amendment is successful in gaining enough legitimate signatures.

"This is because the referenda held at the same time as the 1999 General Election caused voter confusion, congestion in polling places, and significantly delayed the preliminary results.

"The Chief Electoral Officer said the same problems would occur this year if the referendum was held at the same as the General Election.

"The Justice and Electoral Select Committee Report into the 1999 General Election also recommended that serious consideration be given to holding stand alone referenda by postal vote, instead of holding referenda at general elections.

"In addition, the Referenda (Postal Voting) Act was passed to provide a simple and cost-effective means of conducting referenda.

"John Key jumped the gun when he hopped on the referendum bandwagon. His call for a rushed referendum to be held at the same time as this year's General Election is simply a poorly planned and desperate attempt to speak out of both sides of his mouth on the serious issue of child abuse," Annette King said. I am dismayed that he is now using children as pawns in one of his political games."


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