27 Oct 2009

Big money pledged for referendum protest march

9:26 pm on 27 October 2009

An Auckland businessman has pledged hundred of thousands of dollars to fund a march protesting against the Government's refusal to overturn the child discipline law.

Colin Craig runs a high-rise property management company and says he will give up to $450,000 to fund the Auckland march, planned to take place in Queen Street on 21 November.

Mr Craig says he is shocked the Government has not overturned the law after results of a referendum on smacking which suggested 87% of voters did not support it.

Citizen-initiated referendums are an important safeguard of a democracy, he says, and the Government needs to remember it is the people who are in charge of the country.

Green Party MP Sue Bradford, who was behind the original legislation on child discipline, says Mr Craig would do more good spending the money on programmes which directly prevent child abuse.

However, Mr Craig says the issue has moved beyond smacking and is now about democracy.

Mr Craig says he does not want the march to have political or religious affiliations. However, lobby group Family First is helping to organise it.