Colin Craig. Photo NZ Herald
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he still
smacks his children "just like two-thirds of New Zealand
The party is a possible coalition partner with the National
Party after this year's general election.
Mr Craig told RadioLive today he wanted the issue of
repealing the anti-smacking law to be "on the table'' for
future negotiations with National.
Asked if he would start smacking his own children if the law
was reversed, Mr Craig said: "I occasionally do it right
"Like two-thirds of New Zealand parents I don't go putting
the good raising of a child behind a silly law.
"So the silly law is not working for me, it's not working for
two-thirds of other New Zealand parents, because they are
recognising their job to raise their children as more
He agreed he was breaking the law in smacking his children
and said he believed most other parents were doing the same.
"Because they, like me, know that this law is a stupid law,
it has not done anything to curb the abuse of children in
this country and in fact abuse statistics have continued to
He pointed to the 2009 referendum on the issue in which 87.4
per cent of the votes answered no to the question "Should a
smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal
offence in New Zealand?''
Voter turnout in the referendum was 56.1 per cent.
Mr Craig said the law was not working because child abuse
rates had risen since 2008.
Mr Craig told APNZ he did not expect any backlash from his
admission of smacking his own children.
Polling last year covered the issue of whether the law
banning smacking should be changed and two thirds of
respondents agreed, he said.
However, he conceded that did not necessarily mean the same
numbers of parents were ignoring the law and smacking their
In lightly smacking his children, Mr Craig said he was being
"consistent'' with the intention of the law.
"I think a lot of parents will see themselves in the same
The law as it stood was too "ambiguous'' because it said
police would not prosecute a parent for a smack unless it was
in the public interest, Mr Craig said.
''(Prime Minister) John Key said a light smack's okay - well
actually legally he's not right.
The law is a light smack's okay if the police deem it's not
in the public interest to prosecute.''
He said the physical discipline of his own children was
technically against the law if police saw it in the public
interest to prosecute.
"And how would I know what they think?''
He said mostly his discipline consisted of "a flick of a
finger on the back of a knuckle''.
"It's hurts for a moment,'' he said.
But the vast majority of discipline he used was not physical,