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Dear Cabinet Ministers, & Peter Dunne

"Dear Cabinet Ministers, and Peter Dunne (my MP, and also a Minister).

No matter which way you look at it the results of the recent "Smacking Referendum" are resounding and compelling. Yes, the question was poorly worded - but it seems clear to me (and many many others) that the more than 87% of NZers who voted "No" are clearly saying that this law is not a valid expression of what criminal behaviour is.

Press reports tell me that the Prime Minister is taking unspecified proposals to Cabinet to address these concerns. But it would seem the PM's proposals do not go as far as replacing this obnoxious law which it is now abundantly clear does not carry the support of more than 87% of NZers. If so, such proposals cannot be an adequate response to the clearly expressed will of the NZ voting public.

You can do better than this.

I commend to you the "Borrows amendment". It is a much clearer expression than the current (amended) s59. And, ironically - given the debate, actually provides children with more protection because it defines reasonable force for the forms of smacking (and other ‘reasonable force’) which the current (amended) s59 allows but does not define.

I ask that, whatever you decide in response to the PM’s proposals, you also introduce a bill to parliament along the lines of the "Borrows amendment", allow it to go to Select Committee, and then pass it if it carries public support.

Yours sincerely, Gavin Knight, Wellington.

PS, this letter has also been posted to my blog. I reserve the right to also post your response, particularly if it is not a substantive response."

Update: I suggest you also read Madeleine's similar letter.

Reader Comments (1)

Nicely written Gavin. I wrote too.

Aug 23, 2009 at 11:04PM | Unregistered CommenterMadeleine

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