It is a sunny Wellington spring day; I walked past crocuses and the beginning of daffodils to get my ballot paper, and past trees starting to show their spring growth to post it.
I voted yes because I believe smacking children is wrong.
I voted yes because I want to reaffirm that the Christian right do not speak for me. Many many (many) Christians in New Zealand believe, as I do, that smacking is wrong.
I voted yes because countless people gained the signatures of 300,000 voters to give me the opportunity to say out loud what I believe.
I voted yes because I want to live in a country where children are hugged, held, comforted, and raised to be non-violent adults.
I voted yes because I love.
Firstly, a couple of facts:
- This is Sheryl Savill’s petition not Larry Baldock’s. Savill, a staff member at Focus on the Family‘s New Zealand organisation put this forward before Baldock jumped on the referendum bandwagon.
- MPs from a other parties, including National (Bob Simcock) and NZ First (Brian Donnelly and Barbara Stewart), had placed bills to either repeal or amend s59 in the ballot in the past, they were just less lucky than Sue Bradford.
- The bill received support from both sides of the house throughout the debate.
- The bill was eventually passed 113 to 8 â€“ it was supported by a massive majority of MPs
- The actual text of the new s59 can be found hereÂ â€“ it does not actually ban smacking
Secondly, in case any of you are interested in a much more wordy context I have attached, below the fold, a slightly updated piece I wrote for a different purpose earlier this year. It was written to follow on from a summary of the international context, if anyone’s really keen I can post that too :)