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Anti-smacking referendum timing (2)

  • June 25th, 2008

So the PM says she will get the Governor General to order that a postal poll be held next year.

Parliament can stymie that scheme too. Section 22AB allows a majority vote in Parliament to require that the last day of postal voting be the date of the general election. The words are clear:

"(6) [If there has been an order to conduct a postal poll, and ] —

  • (a) a general election must be held on a date that is within 12 months after the date on which the indicative referendum petition is presented to the House of Representatives (because of section 17 of the Constitution Act 1986); and

  • (b) the House of Representatives passes a resolution requiring the voting period to close on the polling day for the general election.

  (7) In the circumstances described in subsection (6), the date on which the voting period closes is polling day"

To have a postal referendum poll close on election day would be almost as good as holding it with the general election, in terms of reminding people of her arrogant interference in ordinary lives and decisions. Only downside would be the $millions wasted on the postal poll, instead of combining it.

John Armstrong’s piece in this morning’s Herald pointed out that the whole 1984 snap election was organised in 4 weeks.

Clark’s reasons are now like a strip tease veil. More amusing and attention-getting than nakedness. A simple "it will be separate from the election because $10m and the criticism are still less to me than having my short-memory voters being reminded of my contempt for their values" would scarcely gain as much attention (and now ridicule).


  • Mike Mckee
  • June 25th, 2008
  • 8:07 pm

Thank you Stephen for your highlighting what the rest of us don’t know about the relevent law on elections.
Good on you.
let’s leave no place for her to hide.
On that note I presume that her minister of Justice doesn’t know the law either and hasn’t advised her properly.
Still it’s common sense isn’t it?


You haven’t considered how the matter would get to the top of the order paper. I can’t see a way it gets there without Government agreement.

Also, the advice of the Chief Electoral Officer – and let’s not forget that it was he personally who laid the complaint over the pledge card with his then boss – was about the logistical problems, separate counting needed on the night, extra staff and training etc. Thinking about the particular complaints, however, an awful lot of them would be mitigated with a postal ballot closing on polling day.

[Graeme, I think the same majority that would be needed to pass the motion could also get it up the order paper as needed, unless I misremember the rules]


Stephen – I suppose they could give it a go, but it seems unlikely:

1. The Government has agreements with other parties for majority support on supply, confidence and procedural matters.

2. SO 65 sets out the order of Government business, S.O. 67 the order of member’s business. If a mere majority on a procedural motion were enough to muck this around people would do it all the time with those annoying members bills from minor parties with which no-one else agrees (I’m sure Keith Locke has had a few).

3. Determinations of the business committee are reached on the basis of unanimity, or if the Speaker agrees the decision is fair to all, may be reached on near unanimity (on the basis of party strength – S.O. 75) – you couldn’t get this with Labour voting against.

  • Mike Mckee
  • June 26th, 2008
  • 10:47 am

I see from Big-news blog that they (electoral office) already made the decision for a postal vote in march three weeks before the petition was in.

This appears to be because they couldn’t be bothered to get off their fannies and it will cost $2million more.

Now that’s a reason to sack a state official isn’t it?

  • dave
  • June 26th, 2008
  • 11:14 am

Actually they made it well before three weeks before the petition was due, more like three months, If I`d be generous and say it takes a month to write the report, which was written on 17 March.

A public servant has taken the soft option again, which is just what the government wants.

Stephen, the Section 22AB6 point made was was the point I also made yesterday, but it would be very hard to achieve.

I don`t believe National is prepared to initiate it, either. even if it viewed it would quickly get to the top of the order paper.


Mike – Robert Peden, the Chief Electoral Officer, isn’t just a state official.

Let’s not forget that this is the person who, as Deputy Chief Electoral Officer at the last election, laid the complaint with his boss the then Chief Electoral Officer over the pledge card.

  • Chuck Bird
  • June 26th, 2008
  • 1:34 pm

Would a postal referendum with the results made public at least 3 weeks before the general election not be an option worth going for?

[…] From: […]

  • Mike Mckee
  • June 27th, 2008
  • 12:21 am

I would suggest another reason for a postal vote is that the uptake of a vote on election day would be larger.

That’s another reason why Labour decided not to let a referendum run.
The main would be that 80% of voters would be reminded why they weren’t voting Labour/Green.

Don’t forget John and Mr Sensible, for without them we wouldn’t have the amendment that 112 MP’s voted for!

They actually applied their minds and knew that voting for it would bring the NZ Police and CYPS into the home of ordinary parents BUT, wouldn’t actually do anything for child abuse.

Only 8 MP’s had the good sense to vote against it.

If I was advising the 80% I’d say give your party vote to the party that voted against this silly Bill.
As a protest to the leadership of Labour/Greens/Maori/National/United Future/NZFirst.

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