Key Points:

A Nelson man charged with assaulting his son says he is prepared to go to jail for his right as a parent and a Christian to hit his child.

Rowan Flynn, 52, is charged with two counts of assaulting his 11-year-old son under legislation that came into effect in June.

He denied the charges when he appeared in Nelson District Court this week, the Nelson Mail reported.

Flynn, who has four children, said his son called the police two weeks ago after he hit the boy.

He estimated he hit his son five times on the bottom with a wooden spoon after he was disobedient, and said it was a "tiny issue" that blew up.

While the police visited him at home, they did not take any action.

About a week later, he said, he "clipped" his son around the face.

Several days later, he was cooking dinner when the police arrested him.

Nelson Bays police commander Inspector Brian McGurk declined to comment, except to say it had always been illegal to assault a child.

- NZPA