NZ Herald 21 July 09
(Simon Barnett and Robyn Malcolm) have lined up as rival celebrities for the “No” and “Yes” votes in next month’s referendum on the question, “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” On the Vote No website, Barnett fronts a video saying, “Kiwi parents know the difference between a light smack and child abuse.” But at the Auckland Town Hall yesterday, Malcolm filmed a statement of support for the “anti-smacking” law with former TV One newsreader Judy Bailey, Kidzone host Kayne Peters, author Brian Edwards and others. “I’m supporting this because I believe that any type of violence towards children is completely unacceptable,” she said.
Barnett has smacked his four daughters “on the odd occasion” and resents being labelled a child abuser. He and wife Jodi decided early on to use a smack “as a consequence for certain behaviour” until each child turned 10. “My wife and I would always say, ‘I’m going to count to three, and if Dad gets to three then there’s a consequence’,” Barnett said. “It might not be a smack. It might be timeout. It might be missing out on the $1 bag of lollies that we get for each of them when we watch a family movie on TV on Saturday night.” But it was a smack, for example, when one daughter aged 6 ran across the road when a car was coming. “But I didn’t smack her in anger,” Barnett said. “I told her, ‘We’ve told you so many times not to cross the road by yourself,’ and I smacked her on the hand. She’s never done it again.”