Bit of a delayed post - sorry if this sparks things up againg - but as a Kiwi, who voted in the referendum, I thought I would put my 2 pennies in.
I voted NO in the referendum as I don't believe it should be illegal to smack your child within reasonable force. The anti-smacking bill came about because we do have a terrible problem with child abuse in this country and this was one way the politicians tried to close any loop holes in the law. Unfortunately the majority of the child abuse cases reported here in NZ are because of certain cultures having always dealt with discipline like that over many years. Educating people to make them see that beating a child with a belt, baseball bat or sticking them in a dryer and hanging them from a washing line (yes, horrifyingly that did happen!) is not acceptable.
The problem is, a child abuser is already breaking the law, and the anti-smacking law is not going to stop that. What needs to be done is to re-educate people and to educate younger people about what is acceptable force and what isn't. Smacking your child when he/she is about to touch a steaming hot oven, even though you have said no and explained several times what would happen if they did touch it, in my opinion, is better than them getting a burnt hand and having to go to hospital. I have a niece that used to bite, one day she bit me, so I bit her back. She now understood how it hurt and it wasn't nice. Telling her it hurt (many many times) didn't seem to get through to her. Since then, she hasn't bitten me once!
If you don't believe in smacking your kids - good on you, I'm glad that works for you, but there are many people (including myself) that believe a light smack, within reasonable force is ok and should not be arrested, prosecuted and put in jail for it.
It sickens me to think that this could happen, when many cases here in NZ where there have been children that have died due to unbelievable child abuse, but becuase families have pulled together and hidden the true culprits, the offenders have walked free. This year alone in the news there has been 4 children die and only one person so far has been convicted (I could be wrong on this figure, but it's only these that come to mind).
I only hope that the government takes notes of the 90% that voted NO and looks to perhaps adjust it's current law.
Thank you - and good night