Cabinet Minister hails smacking vote

The Nelson Mail 22/08/2009

The anti-smacking referendum result reflects a strong reaction against the “nanny state”, says Nelson MP Nick Smith. ….Dr Smith said today there was a clear message in the referendum that the public thought the law had gone too far, and government ministers would need to reflect on that message when Cabinet met on Monday. “I think it reflects a strong reaction against the nanny state, which was also reflected in last year’s election, but equally the Government needs to be cautious it does not react the other way too much.”

Dr Smith said he did not vote in the referendum because he felt in a privileged position as a lawmaker in Cabinet, and that the referendum was an opportunity for the public to have its say. Dr Smith said there were many parents in Cabinet, and as many theories on what was good child-rearing. “I always thought the previous wording in the law, allowing parents to use reasonable force to discipline a child, needed reform, but the message from this referendum is the change went too far,” he said.