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TV host to join review panel on smacking

Nigel Latta. Photo / Supplied
Nigel Latta. Photo / Supplied

Television host Nigel Latta, who openly voted against the law in the recent referendum on smacking, has been chosen by the Government to review policies relating to the issue.

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

In the referendum last month, 87 per cent of those who voted said no to the question, "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

Prime Minister John Key yesterday released the terms of reference for a review of policies and procedures used by Child, Youth and Family and the police when investigating smacking.

Mr Latta, a clinical psychologist and host of The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show on TV One, will conduct the review with Social Development Ministry chief executive Peter Hughes and Police Commissioner Howard Broad.

It will look at procedures, including the referral process, and identify any changes that are necessary or desirable.

It will also "consider any other matters which, in the reviewers' opinion, will assist in ensuring that parents are treated as Parliament intended", the terms of reference say.

Mr Key said he phoned Mr Latta and asked him to take part in the review.

His "direct and honest approach" was well known and he would be a "clear advocate for parents".

The inclusion of Mr Latta showed the Government was "not there to sweep the issue under the carpet", the PM said.

In such a "polarising debate" as the smacking one, it was "almost impossible to get someone neutral".

Mr Key repeated his belief that the law was working as intended and said the review was intended to assure parents the Government would monitor its implementation.

The review team will report back by December 1.

- NZPA

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