The Herald asks three parties: Why are parents so scared of the anti-smacking law? Will there be a referendum?
Richard Lewis, Family Party: "As a former South Auckland sergeant I'm strongly opposed to the law. I think it exposes parents unfairly and disturbs their ability to set and maintain boundaries within the home. It sends a message that the Government has shifted its view on the role of the family in the community. Section 59 never, ever, protected child abusers. The test of reasonableness was measured by the public and the judicial system. Now it comes down to the discretion of police who turn up at the door."
Sue Bradford (Greens) who promoted the law change, "totally" disagrees:
"The ability to beat your child undermines the family. But I do think the law needs to be supported by massive education so parents don't feel frightened by it. All the legislation did was remove 'reasonable force as a means of correction' from the law. Yes, there will be a referendum. Whoever forms the next government will be required to hold one next year."
Prime Minister Helen Clark, Labour: "There's absolutely no reason for decent parents to be scared at all, because the law, which was passed near-unanimously, makes it clear no inconsequential action is going to be bothered with by the police."