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No Change To Smacking Ban, Govt Says

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 8 NZPA - The Government isn't going to change child discipline laws and Prime Minister John Key is reassuring parents they won't be prosecuted for a light smack.

A review report by Police Commissioner Howard Broad, Social Development Ministry chief executive Peter Hughes and clinical psychologist Nigel Latta was released yesterday, saying they had found no evidence police or welfare staff were reacting inappropriately.

The law as it stands bans smacking for the purposes of correction, but police have the discretion not to prosecute for inconsequential smacks.

Mr Latta reviewed several individual cases highlighted in the media by opponents of the law.

He said he was personally reassured the law change made no difference to the way the police and social workers did their job.

Mr Key said the law was working the way Parliament intended, and again said he would change it if parents were prosecuted for lightly smacking their children.

He was asked at a press conference whether he was saying it was acceptable to lightly smack a child.

"Yes, I think so," he replied.

"It's up to individual parents to decide how they're going to parent their children. My view is that it will depend on the circumstances and how you want to raise your child."

The review report contained several recommendations, including establishing a helpline for parents who were approached by authorities about smacking their children.

Mr Key said the recommendations would be implemented.

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