Better Democracy NZ is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation.

Our mission is to foster the improvement of New Zealand's democratic system and encourage the use of direct democracy through the

Veto, Citizens' Initiated and Recall referendum.


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Smacking law march aims to be big

Colin Craig has set aside a budget in the 'hundreds of thousands' for the march.
Will you march to support action on the smacking referendum? It would be great to see a number of "Binding Referendum" signs there.

NZ Herald: 4:00AM Wednesday Oct 28, 2009
By Simon Collins

March to call for action on smacking referendum

An Auckland property manager who is spending $450,000 to promote a march against the smacking law says he hopes it will be the biggest protest march in New Zealand history.

Colin Craig, 41, and his wife Helen own companies which manage high-rise apartment buildings including Nautilus at Orewa and the Sentinel at Takapuna.

He says he has never belonged to or donated money to a political party, and had never given money to the Family First lobby group until Prime Minister John Key refused to change the smacking law when 87.4 per cent of voters said in a referendum that smacking should not be a criminal offence.

But yesterday he teamed up with Family First leaders Bob McCoskrie and Bev Adair to announce plans for a "march for democracy" in Queen St at 1.30pm on Saturday, November 21.

Mr Craig will be the major funder with a budget "in the hundreds of thousands - I hope not more than $450,000".

"If this becomes a protracted battle, obviously the budget will have to be adjusted."

He and his wife have a 4-year-old daughter. Asked if he had smacked her, he said: "On occasion I've found it necessary to give her a little flick on the hand, yes."

But he said his motivating force was the principle of democracy rather than the smacking law.

"My involvement came out of discussions with friends saying we don't think it's right for such a considerable majority of voters to be ignored. That prompted me to look at what I could do about it."

He said his wife fully backed the decision to put much of their savings into the march.

"I'm Scottish by background. I'm married to someone who's half-Scottish and half-Jewish," he said.

"I'm never going to own a boat, but some things are more important."

A family friend, North Shore fulltime mother-of-two Shelley Vitali, is acting as the march's unpaid media liaison officer, other volunteers have been enlisted, and Mr Craig said he hoped ordinary New Zealanders would turn out.

"The reality is if we have the biggest protest march in the history of New Zealand, which I'd love to know how big it was ... [we can't be ignored]," he said.

"The [2004] hikoi got more than 10,000. The [2005 Destiny Church] march for family values got close to 15,000. I'm absolutely hoping to get an awful lot more than that."

However, the author of the political history No Left Turn, Chris Trotter, said recent protests came nowhere near the biggest historical turnout of 50,000 to 70,000 people for an Auckland Domain rally by Labour politician John A Lee before the 1938 election.



Billy Mckee said...

Hi, Billy Mckee here.
I am a big supporter of binding citizens initiated referendums. It is probably the best way forward for our future.
This attack on the smacking laws with it`s badly worded referendum is in my opinion the wrong direction to take as violence against anyone is wrong and divides the people who would support BCIR.
This is also an attack on the Green party who I support as the only political party who actually puts peoples well being before profits.
Just push for BCIR and you will have a united support.
Billy Mckee.

Steve Baron said...

This isn't support for the pro smacking lobby Billy, it is support for democracy. 87% of voters disagree with the government and the government should support the wishes of the people. You can't only support referendums when it suits your cause, that is not democracy. I know you are an avid supporter for more liberal cannabis laws and if the referendum had been on this issue I would still agree with the majority decision even though I am totally against drugs, like cannabis.

Referendums are about democracy, they are about the wishes of the people regardless of the issues. That is what Better Democracy NZ is fighting for.

ashley said...

Why should the government listen to people, they are too busy to make sure they are well looked after. They do not have the balls to make hard and democratic decisions incase they end up, one term government. Things will never change unless and until, the tax paying and law abiding public, gets off their butt instead of getting off to work. Who takes part in most protests?
How on earth a very small party ended up twisting the big party's arm to pass most unpopular law and got away with it. Is this democracy?

Steve Baron said...

Yes this is democracy Ashley and it is far better than the old first past the post system of elected dictatorships. But granted, it is not perfect!The system still needes improving and one way to ensure tails don't wag the dog and dogs don't wag their tails too much is to have binding referendums. Even the veto referendum that many are stating to talk about would be a big step forward. The veto referendum as operates in Switzerland, allows citizens to collect 50,000 signatures within 100 days to stop and government legislation passed through parliament. Legislation does not become law in Switzerland until the 100 days are up.