Bizzaro Referendum

Stan Lee insulted me! But in Bizzaro World, that means he likes me! There is a referendum currently being voted on in New Zealand under the strangest circumstances.


A couple of years ago New Zealand politicians voted to remove “reasonable force” as a defence for violence by a parent against their child. Both sides were very passionate with cries of “Won’t someone think of the children?” from supporters of the law change and rendering of clothing and gnashing of teeth by opponents, who dubbed it the “anti-smacking bill”.


Fast forward to now and opponents to the bill have gathered enough signatures to force a non-binding referendum to be put to New Zealanders. The referendum question is:

Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

Opponents of the law change to remove reasonable force are urging people to vote no it shouldn’t be a criminal offence, supporters of the law change to remove reasonable force are urging people to vote yes, make it a criminal offence.

What makes the referendum bizzaro is when the reasonable force clause was removed as a defence, an additional clause was added.

To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the Police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child or person in the place of a parent of a child in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child, where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.

I read that as if you the parent smack your child, as part of a good parental correction, the New Zealand police aren’t going to do anything. What the referendum is asking for is already exists! (there is some difference but the end result is the same: you don’t go to jail for a light smack).


So the bizzaro situation we are in is that opponents of the current law (reasonable force is not allowed as a defence) are showing their opposition to the current law by voting to keep the current law. Supporters of the current law are showing their support for the current law with a vote for change (all smacking illegal).