Over 600,000 signatures were presented to Parliament yesterday asking for a referendum on the criminalization of parents physically disciplining their children.
This is more than enough to see a citizens referendum on this issue, which should be held at that same time as the general election this year.
Let's see if the ruling elite find a way to dodge this by delaying tactics and procrastination.
Of course citizens initiated referenda are not binding but they do send a message. In fact the level of support this petition has attracted sends a message in itself.
If nothing else having this on the ballot will ensure that I enter the polling booth later this year - I have actually voted in every election since I became eligible and was actually in the country at election time, But darned if I know who is worth voting for. It is easy to see who not to vote for, obvious in fact, but who to support instead is not apparent to this voter yet.
In a related matter is this press release from Jigsaw released late last night.
Their headline says it all "Families Best Placed To Spark Children’s Dreams".
I had not heard of Jigsaw before I saw this but if the opening paragraph of their press release underpins the philosophy of the organization then I would say they are on the right track and a worthy of support.
Jigsaw CEO Strategic Operations, Liz Kinley says that while community organisations like Jigsaw will always be here to provide support and help with parenting issues, it is families themselves who are best placed to spark their children’s dreams.
“Between July 2006 and June 2007 Jigsaw’s 24 member agencies worked with over 6500 families helping them to raise their children in ways that enabled them to thrive and we are here to do the same in 2008. Whether there was violence in their homes, or parents wanting some positive parenting advice, our local Jigsaw agencies were always there in their local community, offering help and support in the way that best met the particular needs of each family and their children.
And this is the type of thinking that will help solve the problems families face in New Zealand, not the shotgun approach legislation punishing ordinary parents for their imperfections.
Any organization is only as good as the people who work in it and generally speaking this starts at the top.
So color me impressed with CEO, Liz Kenley's opening words and lets hope that what she is suggesting can be delivered by the grass roots members of Jigsaw.
Because I am convinced this is the way to go and has a lot to offer in resolving the issues New Zealand faces in raising of children into fully functioning adults.