20 April 2007
NEWSLETTER: Key Notes No.8

Show us the money

State funding of election campaigns is a careless way to spend taxpayer money, and thanks to pressure from National and the minor parties, it's now off Labour's agenda.

I agree that campaign rules need cleaning up. Elections should be fair for everyone, but Labour's attempt to ram through changes without consulting all political parties was arrogant and corrupt.

Making sure that our elections are fair is not just about changing the rules. Labour must also follow the rules, and this is where their behaviour is dodgy.

Labour is yet to pay back the $800,000 of taxpayer money the Auditor-General said they illegally spent at the last election. And now that they can't get taxpayers to fund their next campaign, I'm wondering if they'll ever pay up.

Labour can change the rules as much as they want, but until they play by the rules and pay back the money they owe, they don't deserve to stay in government.

Good parents are not crims

The repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act will criminalise every parent who occasionally corrects their child by smacking them lightly. Supporters of the bill say this doesn't matter because no one will be prosecuted for correcting children with a light smack. But if they are right, and if no one is going to be prosecuted for lightly smacking their child, then it shouldn't be illegal.

This is bad law. The backers of this bill are saying "trust the police and the courts not to enforce it". We need to do better than that.

Almost every MP from every party claims that they want the same things. We want to stop bad parents using the Section 59 defence of reasonable force to get away with violently beating their children. We want to lower the threshold on what is acceptable physical discipline of children. And we don't want to criminalise good parents who occasionally give their children a light smack.

So let's step back, acknowledge our common ground, and pass a law on smacking that is clear and precise and which the police and the courts will enforce. That's what good law-making should be all about.

Let me know your thoughts on the anti-smacking bill at

The flying kiwi

This week the kiwi dollar is the highest it's been since 1984. At this level, our exporters are really hurting and the Government's "Export Year" is looking like a cruel joke.

Michael Cullen says he can't do anything to stop the rising dollar, and washes his hands of responsibility. But he has contributed to its rise by massively increasing government spending and showing little care about how that money is spent.

The Reserve Bank has said that the Government's ‘expansionary' fiscal policy will keep interest rates higher for longer. Those high interest rates are a big part of why the kiwi continues to climb.

Dr Cullen is about to pile even more fuel on the interest rate fire in this year's budget. Labour wants to dole out money in the run-up to the next election to bribe Kiwis into voting them back into power, when they should be getting government spending under control and making sure that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely.

John Key