The Government's hopes of putting the divisive smacking debate behind it in the next month have been dashed with a move by Act's John Boscawen to delay his doomed private member's bill and start a public campaign to support it.

The bill would legalise smacking for the purposes of correction.

But with the opposition of both National and Labour it was expected to be voted down when it reached its first hurdle in Parliament either on Wednesday this week or in a fortnight's time.

Mr Boscawen confirmed last night that he would write to the Clerk of Parliament, Mary Harris, tomorrow asking for the bill to be delayed indefinitely.

Instead he will hold meetings in different electorates every fortnight to seek public support for his bill to put pressure on National and Labour MPs to drop their opposition.

Mr Boscawen believes the whole issue is damaging National and that the five-point slump in National's support in Friday's Roy Morgan poll could be down to its non-response to the citizens initiated referendum.

He has already held a public meeting in Mt Roskill with 100 in attendance, he has another in Waimakariri tonight, is planning one in Tauranga early next month and another soon in the Helensville electorate of Prime Minister John Key.

"I only get one chance to put it up and when I do put it up I want to do everything I can to get the maximum vote for it," Mr Boscawen told the Herald yesterday.

"I don't think I'll get the maximum vote for it if it goes up either this Wednesday or a fortnight's time after that."

In a remarkable coincidence, his bill was drawn from a ballot of 29 private members' bills less than a week after the citizens-initiated referendum on smacking was finished.

On the same day the bill was drawn from the ballot, Mr Key said that National would not be supporting it to select committee.

It is thought that National did not want to extend the debate provoked by the citizens-initiated referendum further by sending it to select committee and it believed the Boscawen bill would sink.

Under the present law it is unlawful to smack a child for the purposes of correction but it directs the police not to prosecute inconsequential cases where it would not be in the public interest.

The referendum asked whether a smack as part of good parental correction should be a criminal offence in New Zealand and 87.4 per cent voted "No".

Mr Key has since ordered a review of how the law is applied by clinical psychologist and No-voter Nigel Latta, Police Commissioner Howard Broad and the head of Child Youth and Family Peter Hughes.

Mr Boscawen said Parliament should "fix" the law.

"Parliament should make it very certain that smacking is not a criminal offence, which it currently is," Mr Boscawen said.

Mr Boscawen is going to target initially electorates with large "No" votes in the referendum.

Of the 70 electorates, 14 had a No vote of more than 25,000: Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, Helensville, Hunua, Kaikoura, Otaki, Rangitata, Rodney, Selwyn, Taupo, Tauranga, Waimakariri, Waitaki and Whangarei.

He said that in most electorates the No vote was higher than the electorate vote of the local MP at the last election.

Mr Boscawen is working with Kiwi Party leader and referendum organiser Larry Baldock at the public meetings and Family First director Bob McCoskrie.

Mr Baldock has submitted a new question for a proposed referendum: "Should Citizens Initiated Referendum seeking to repeal or amend a law be binding?".