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Petitions on Smacking, Families launched

Press release embargoed until 1.30pm Thursday 22nd February, 2007

Larry Baldock and Sheryl Savill will hold a press conference at the Kingsgate Hotel Gilbert room, 92 Gladstone Rd, Parnell at 1.30pm Thursday 22nd Feb to officially launch two Citizens initiated Referendum petitions which will ask 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.

With the passing of Sue Bradford’s anti smacking, anti correction bill through another stage in parliament last night, it is time for all New Zealander’s to have an opportunity to have their opinion heard in a concrete and constructive way.

Our purpose in promoting this initiative is at least threefold.

Firstly, by obtaining at least 300,000 signatures on both petitions in the next few months as the bill is debated in parliament, we can send a strong signal to all MP’s about how seriously concerned many good New Zealand parents feel about the possibility of being criminalised if the bill is passed in its current form.

Secondly if parliament refuses to listen to the overwhelming majority of us who have indicated in survey after survey that we do not support the banning of smacking, then the Petition will enable our dissent to be clearly counted in a formal referendum at the next election.

Finally through the second petition we hope to channel the enormous public energy being generated by this debate into a positive and constructive message to government that the majority of New Zealanders will support sensible and constructive efforts to address our unacceptable statistics in regard to our children and young people.

We reject absolutely the ill conceived notion that the proposed ban on smacking will do anything to stop child abuse. But we must not simply become aroused in our opposition to legislation and then sink back into life as normal, without identifying and supporting alternative solutions. Once the initial step of collecting the required number of signatures is completed, we will be able to engage in a wide discussion about what the Government could and should do, to help in addressing the reality that for too many of our children in this country the quality of their family life is unacceptable.

Petition forms can be obtained by emailing CIRPetition[at]xtra.co.nz
Or writing to CIR Petition P.O.Box 9228, Greerton Tauranga.


ENDS

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