Referendum on referendums proposed

Another proposed referendum has been received by Parliament from one of the backers of the smacking referendum.

Clerk of the House Mary Harris said Larry Baldock had submitted a referendum asking: "Should Citizens Initiated Referendum seeking to repeal or amend a law be binding?"

Ms Harris said interested parties had until October 16 to make submissions on the wording of the question.

Following this the referendum will be finalised and Mr Baldock can begin seeking signatures to back his request.

Mr Baldock will have 12 months to collect 10 per cent of voters' signatures to force a referendum.

Mr Baldock leads the Kiwi Party which strongly backed a referendum earlier this year: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

An overwhelming majority - 87.4 per cent - of those who voted in the referendum said 'no' to that question.

The referendum was organised after Green MP Sue Bradford's member's bill was passed in 2007. That law change amended the Crimes Act to remove the defence of reasonable force when an adult was charged with assaulting a child.

Prime Minister John Key has said he won't change the law and is instead reinforcing guidelines to ensure police and welfare authorities don't prosecute parents for a light, inconsequential smack.

Mr Key has also asked for a review of how the law was being interpreted and enforced.


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