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Don't Forget To Vote

Posted on 04 Aug 2009

I received my voting papers for the anti-smacking referendum yesterday, which asks: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?" I myself will be voting 'no'. If the various polls that have been taken recently are correct - all show around 80% support for the 'no' vote – most of the country will be voting the same way.

It certainly appears that most of the country sees a need for the law to be changed – but this can only happen if people exercise their right to democracy and actually vote in the referendum. While postal ballots have historically generated a notoriously low turnout, more than 300,000 people joined together to force this referendum – and we mustn't miss this opportunity to have our say.

Voting papers need to be returned by 21 August so vote now.

In The House

Posted on 04 Aug 2009

Legislation this week - August 4-6 2009.

Government Bills:
Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill - First Reading
ACT to Support to Select Committee

Road User Amendment Bill - Second Reading
ACT to Support

Limitation Bill - First Reading
Act to Support

Search and Surveillance Bill - First Reading
ACT to Support

Cultural Property (Protection in Armed Conflict) Bill - Second Reading
ACT to Support

Taxation (International Taxation, Life Insurance, and Remedial Matters) Bill - Second Reading
ACT to Support

Electricity (Continuance of Supply) Amendment Bill - Second Reading
ACT to Oppose

Appropriation (2009/10 Estimates) Bill - Estimates Debate (eight hours)
ACT to Support

A more detailed rundown of Parliament this week can be viewed by clicking on 'In The House' or at http://www.roy.org.nz/inthehouse.

60th Anniversary Of The Compulsory Military Training Referendum

Posted on 03 Aug 2009

60 years ago today - 3 August 1949 - a referendum on CMT gained 78% support and through the 1950's some 60,000 kiwi men served under Compulsory Military Training.

A ceremony this morning (11am at the National War Memorial in Wellington) will mark the occasion. I'm deligted to have been asked to be the Government's representative at the ceremony and lay a wreath in honour of those who served.

I frequently come across those who served under CMT. The reports of their time in uniform are remarkably similar to my own experience - hard physically and psychological but enourmously enjoyable and worthwhile, and for many probably the most valuable experience of their lives.

I know as I deliver my address at the National War Memorial this morning many will be remembering their basic and subsequent training with a grin. One of the many human quirks that bind servicemen and women is that we tend to forget the hardship and, instead, remember the humour and the characters we met and served with.

Those I join in honouring today have done more than most to keep freedom's flame burning. Like those who sailed, marched and flew before them they have paid the price of citizenship and for that they should be thanked. It is now the turn of others to continue the legacy.

Anti-Smacking Referendum Launched

Posted on 01 Aug 2009

New Zealanders should exercise their right to democracy and take part in the Anti-Smacking Referendum - voting papers will begin arriving in letterboxes from today.

Postal ballots have historically generated a notoriously low turnout but given the publicity around this issue and numerous polls showing that around 80% of kiwis don't agree with the anti-smacking laws and the interference by govenrnment into the way people can discipline their children I expect the turnout to be better than with other postal ballots. More than 300,000 people joined together to force this referendum and I hope that New Zealanders won't miss this opportunity to have their say.

The intent of this law was to stem the country's rising tide of abhorrent child abuse. Instead, we have Government intrusion into the lives of law-abiding parents - and 13 children have been killed as a result of abuse since the law was passed two years ago.

Laws must be clear, enforceable and regularly enforced to be effective - but this is not the case we have now. The anti-smacking law is flawed and confusing, with ambiguity around the police's enforcement of it - while it is an offence for parents to smack their children, police have discretion over whether or not to take action.

If parents are to have any certainty at all in the raising and correction of their children, they should fill out their voting papers and return them by August 21. No New Zealander should miss their chance to exercise their right to freedom and democracy.

When Is The Right Time?

Posted on 29 Jul 2009

Who gave a speech in 2004 that led The Press to report: "National ... [has] again flagged the need for future Governments to consider raising the retirement age"?

It was only Finance Spokesman for National - John Key - see here.

So why is two Governments later too soon to consider this?

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