Anti-smacking bill opponents’ hope on referendum

The Press 16 May 2007
A bill outlawing physical punishment is set to be voted into law tonight, two years after it was forced onto the political agenda. Opponents of the bill are now resting their hopes on a petition which seeks to force a referendum against the bill. But a referendum would not be binding and would not stop the law coming into force a month from now. A $35,000 advertising campaign is being run in major daily newspapers today by the petition organisers, who say they already have 180,000 signatures. They need 300,000 signatures to force a referendum. But tonight’s vote is expected to overwhelmingly back the Sue Bradford-sponsored bill, after a compromise was thrashed out between Prime Minister Helen Clark and National Party leader John Key.