Colin Craig says the Conservative Party won't be pushing
for the repeal of the gay marriage law or legalised
prostitution after next year's election, but would try to get
the anti-smacking law overturned.
The party's position is that such issues should be decided by
referendum. The smacking issue had been put to a referendum
but the gay marriage issue and legalising prostitution had
"Until we have had referendums on those other two, I can't
see how we can overrule the conscience vote in Parliament.
"The real mandate to change those things has to come from the
people," Mr Craig told the Herald.
The 2009 referendum asking should a smack "as part of good
parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand"
resulted in a 56.09 per cent turnout with 87.4 per cent
It was a response to a 2007 act which abolished the use of
reasonable force by parents as justification for disciplining
children, although police have the discretion not to
prosecute in the use of force against a child when it is
considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public
interest in prosecuting.
"I do think there is a mandate from the people to change that
and I do think that is something we could reasonably ask for
Mr Craig said the smacking law was clearly not working
because child abuse rates had not gone down.
On the questions of same-sex marriage, he said it would be
"rather naive to think you are going to change the
redefinition of marriage" given the overwhelming vote in the
House on it in April, with 77 votes in favour and 44 against.
"The only way it would change is if it went to a referendum
of New Zealanders and they said by clear majority 'change
The law legalising prostitution was passed in 2003. A
petition to force a citizens' initiated referendum was begun
by two former United Future MPs and now Conservative Party
members, Larry Baldock and Gordon Copeland, but they failed
to get the requisite number of signatures.
- Audrey Young of the New Zealand Herald