A Government minister was last night accused of smacking one of his children at a shopping mall.
The Family First NZ lobby group, which campaigned against anti-smacking laws, accused cabinet minister David Cunliffe of smacking one of his children at Lynnmall shopping centre in Auckland.
Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ, said it had been contacted by a reliable informant who had witnessed Cunliffe smacking one of his children.
McCoskrie said the child was being corrected for hitting another child. "The smack on the hand was reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances. It appears that Mr Cunliffe was acting as any good parent would in the same circumstances."
Cunliffe, the minister of immigration and communications, last night told the Herald on Sunday: "My 2-year-old was pulling at a little girl. I pulled his hand away and calmly told him not to do that. If Families First cared about families, they would not be dragging the small children of MPs into a public debate like this."
McCroskie said that under the new anti-smacking law - supported by Cunliffe - a smack was now illegal and if a complaint was made to the police by a member of the public or the child it would have to be investigated.
Under the law, said McCroskie, the event would be recorded by police and forwarded to the family violence co-ordinator.
McCroskie said Family First NZ believed Cunliffe acted correctly.