PM: It’s okay to give light smacks

NZ Herald Dec 8, 2009

Prime Minister John Key says a new review gives parents the go-ahead to lightly smack their children without the fear they will be investigated and prosecuted for doing so. Mr Key yesterday presented the findings of the review into how the anti-smacking law is being used, ordered after a referendum heightened calls for the legislation to be repealed.

The review panel – child psychologist Nigel Latta, Police Commissioner Howard Broad and Ministry of Social Development chief executive Peter Hughes – found police and social workers were acting proportionately and one-off complaints about light smacking were not investigated unless other circumstances were at play. Mr Key said it showed parents were still able to lightly smack and he personally believed it was already acceptable, despite the strict letter of the law. If that changed, he said, he would change the law, as he had promised. “Lightly smacking a child will be in the course of parenting for some parents and I think that’s acceptable. It is up to individual parents to decide how they’re going to parent their children … Some people will continue to lightly smack their child for correction, some will not. It is up to them to decide.”