Some extracts from an e-mail a reader sent to me. I suspect he speaks for many people:
I would like politicians to know why the anti-smacking debate is important to me and people like me– This is why National and John Key need to be be careful about something that they consider unimportant.
I voted for John Key in the last election but I voted for Helen Clark in 1999 and 2002. I like John Key and believe his positive attitude is good for New Zealand but if he continues making those statements like yesterday I will vote for Labour again, or ACT (at least Rodney is against this bill). This is not a threat just a fact. Myself and my wife believe that the Government should spend my money to pave the roads, keep my safe and provide a bit of entertainment (ah la Richard Worth). I expect nothing from the government unless I am completely screwed. (that is why I would hate to vote for Labour again)
I am a father of 3 girls ages 5 and under. I have never smacked two of them and the other one (who I love equally) does get smacked about twice a year. She is stronger willed and more likely to bully the others. She is probably more like to succeed tooJ
The reason I am so angry with JK’s attitude is because I have to deal with the normal bullshit everyone else has to deal with like housing costs, bills, rates etc but the fact that if my wife or I feel that a smack is deserved occasionally is my business not anyone else’s. The fact that CYFS can take our children away if we break this law would destroy us. Therefore we will do whatever we decide to keep our little world together, even it means voting for someone I don’t like because I don’t expect any from the government I really don’t care who’s there. Most of my friends are the same we all work hard and try our best to bring up good children (we don’t all succeed every day). …
I know that an occasional smack works with some children and makes them better people. This is not a debate that Plunket (who have lost touch with parents) and the Government need to worry about as there are thousands of Parents who “know” the same thing. New Zealand is basically a good country and it is the fear that my children could be taken away that is more important to me than any economic policy, climate change strategy or social welfare policy could ever be. If I lose my job I have my family, if I lose my family I have nothing.
This fear may be unfounded but Sue Bradford’s law does not allow for people like me – people who abide by the law and care about their family. The party (or person) who can allay this fear will win the next election. Chester Burrows amendment to s59. I thought was perfect. It would actually secure them the next election by implementing the wishes of the people.
I am sending this email because John Key lost more votes with his attitude over the smacking referendum then he will ever lose over Richard Worth, Melissa Lee or Christine Rankin combined – none of them effected my life, this bill does.
I want John Key to be our Prime Minister after 2011 but he needs to understand he needs to treat this issue with respect. The thought of Phil Goff being the next PM is horrible but it might happen if John Key thinks this current law works – it doesn’t because it makes parents criminals.
I encouraged the reader to send his e-mail to the PM and his local National MP.