Monday, 20 April 2009

Random Impertinent Referendum Questions

As inspired by this comment on this post, and with apologies to Cactus for stealing her title.

There's a referendum coming in August, which Anjum has recently written about. There's a campaign to vote Yes, despite a really rather stupid question, one that is loaded to encourage as many No votes as possible:
Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
If this is voted down then I expect to see future referenda questions along the following lines in due course:
  • Should a smack, as part of good spousal correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
  • Should a smack, as part of a positive relationship between friends, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
  • Should a smack, as part of an industry-leading customer relations standard, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
  • Should a smack, as part of a best practice child behaviour policy in education, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
  • Should kicking someone in the back, in the midst of the breakup of a romantic relationship betwen the kicker and the kickee, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
From Dave Moskovitz:
The question being asked is really stupid; if it were rephrased as "Should it be illegal for a manager, as part of good management practice, to hit an employee" we wouldn't be here arguing about it.
Two suggestions from Paul:
"Should it be illegal for an interrogator, as part of good interrogation practice, to hit an interrogatee?"
"Should it be illegal for a child, as part of growing up, to hit a parent?"
Here's one from Brian Edwards:
This is the equivalent of asking: ‘Should doctors recommend an exclusive diet of McDonalds and KFC as part of a healthy weight loss programme?’ McDonalds and KFC cannot be part of a healthy weight loss programme. And it is open to serious doubt whether smacking can be part of ‘good parental correction’.
Feel free to add yours in comments, or blog about them yourself.

In the face of the inane referendum question that we really have to vote on in August I believe voting Yes sends a message that you reject the presumption that violence of any sort, smacking or otherwise, is a good way to correct children.


Anna said...

Inane and disingenuous - what a combo.

My partner made a disgruntled comment the other day about lightly smacking Christians in the hope they'll stop putting up crappy referendum questions. I had to sympathise.

T said...

Great post!

muerk said...


Would time out be appropriate for managers, friends, industry-leading customer relations standards?

How about going to bed without dessert? Or having your toys taken away? What about going to bed early, or having to do extra chores?

Likewise would it be appropriate for managers, friends, customers etc. to hop into bed in the middle of the night. Have cuddles on the sofa, have a bath with them. Walk into their room when they are naked, or wipe their bottoms?

Children are not managers, friends, customers or anything other than _children_.

QoT said...

*related plug*!

Chris said...

I don't suppose there's a Facebook group/cause yet?

Cactus Kate said...

That's ok. I stole it from someone else.

Anonymous said...

Sad! How can you equate domestic violence and employment matters etc with a parent correcting his/her child?

How dare any of you tell me how I bring up my children. In that case I'll walk into your house and force you to not let your kids watch TV or eat dodgy food.

Anonymous said...

How dare any of you tell me how I bring up my children.

- And here comes the people who get all high and mighty about a law they simply don't understand.

Anonymous said...

I understand it - I have read the law over and over again. Helps with a law degree :)

But this law is telling me how to discipline my kids too. You tell me how to raise my children and I will tell you to lose some weight and save the environment :)

Anonymous said...

Very convenient that you have a law degree *rolls eyes* I suppose anyone can be anyone when they're anonymous.

Do you know what the defence of reasonable force is?

Dell said...

I know your answer wasn't aimed at me anon but I'd be happy for you to tell me to "lose some weight and save the environment" if in return you don't hit your kids! Wanna shake on it?

Anonymous said...

I am glad you all advocate the mantra that parents are not allowed to punish their own kids.

How utterly disgusting.

They never even did that under communism.

Why do you have such an interest if I spank my kids or not? Is it a power trip?

AWicken said...

Worse than communism? A bit much, I think.

Next we'll be reading "The Preschool Archipelago".

To tell the truth, I reckoned that what NZ really needed wasn't a repeal of s59, but a review of the entire jury system (12 people agreed that hitting a kid with 2x4 was reasonable parental force - WTF??). Overall, I'm fairly noncommittal about the entire issue, but I think it's nice that people have an issue with people who hit children, even their own.

And I've seen managers throw tantrums, and employees who really SHOULD have taken a time out but didn't (I should say "ex-employees").

T said...

Nobody is saying you can't punish you kids Anon. It's just sad you think the only tool you have to punish them is by smacking them.

lex said...

Facebook group!!