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300,000 and still counting!

Press release embargoed until 1.30pm
Thursday 22nd February, 2008

300,000 and still counting!

One year ago exactly Larry Baldock and Sheryl Savill along with leaders from several supporting organisations held a press conference at the Kingsgate Hotel to officially launch two Citizens Initiated Referenda petitions on the following questions;

1.) “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” proposed by Sheryl Savill

2.) "Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in NZ" proposed by Larry Baldock.

The CIR Act of 1993 requires that a petition to force a referendum must be signed by 10% of the registered electors which as of today is 285,019.
Now 12 months later we have collected more than the required number of signatures to hand into the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

“We were always aiming at the magic figure of 300,000 to ensure we had enough to cover any fluctuations that may occur as people join or exit the electorate roll,” said Mr Baldock.

“Over the past several weeks the number of petitions arriving in our mail box has been increasing dramatically as people rush to send in what they have collected before the first deadline.
We will be announcing the current total at the press conference after we complete our counting for the week and an estimate of what we will be delivering to Wellington on Feb 29, which is the final date set for delivery by the Act. We believe the Prime Minister will be in for a surprise!

This will not end our collection efforts as we must be prepared to loose as many as 10-20% of the submitted signatures once the Clerks complete their audit of a random sample.

In the case of Norm Withers petition in 1999 over 60,000 signatures were disallowed.

Once the audit process is complete we are given an extension of two months to collect and submit further signatures to ensure we meet the required total to ensure a referendum is held,” he said.

ENDS

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“The people and parties we elect tomorrow will be making the decisions that affect us, our families and our communities,” says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. “It doesn’t get much more important than that, and we need all New Zealanders to use their voice and vote.”

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