Saturday, 1 August 2009

Vote now or forever hold your peace

I'm not going to get into the politics of what the so-called anti-smacking bill says. Regardless of what it says, people have interpreted it as meaning that parents will no longer be able to smack their children, and a referendum has been organised in response to the bill. The referendum question:

Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

Naysayers say the question isn't even relevant, as the bill doesn't outlaw "a smack as part of good parental correction". And controversy flooded New Zealand when it was revealed that the referendum was costing taxpayers almost $9 million; and when Prime Minister John Key announced that, regardless of the referendum's result, he's unlikely to change the bill unless he decides the law is not working.

Further controversy was caused when the referendum question was called "ambiguous" and "confusing", with Labour leader Phil Goff positing a more appropriate question as, "Is the law working satisfactorily?"


Regardless of controversy, regardless of confusion, regardless of taxpayers' money, the referendum is now out. If you're registered as a New Zealand voter, you've probably got your voting paper already.

And you know what? Not voting because it's a waste of money isn't going to bring that money back. It's already been spent.

Not voting because you don't think it'll change anything is shocking apathy. This is your chance to voice your opinion — whatever that opinion is. If you don't choose to vote, you have no right to complain about this bill.

Whether or not it will change anything isn't the point. If that's the lazy, apathetic attitude the New Zealand public has, New Zealand deserves to go to the dogs.

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