It is illegal to spank your child

Parental control
  • (1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of—

    • (a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or
    • (b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or
    • (c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour; or
    • (d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.

    (2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.

    (3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).

    (4) To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the Police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child or person in the place of a parent of a child in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child, where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.

    Section 59: substituted, on 21 June 2007, by section 5 of the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 18).

  • Anonymous

    I am a New Zealand citizen and wish to say, this is not a stupid law. It was put in place because smacking children was being used as an excuse for beating children, and obviously it is not possible to say, you can smack your child but only so hard.

  • Anonymous

    As a Kiwi, this is NOT a stupid law. It was put in place because so many children would get beaten. much like the previous comment, it was used as an excuse for beating a child. This law is for the safety of our youth!

  • T

    This is a law only established a few years ago, not an antiquated law that legislators have forgotten to take off the books like most on this website. It was put into place to protect the youth of our country as it enables prosecution of abusive parents. When I go overseas and see parents go beyond a simple smack and hurt their children in full view of the public, and no one responds, I feel sorry that other countries do not have this law.

  • Student

    That heading is extremely misleading! The law clearly states the occasions when “spanking” IS allowed, it simply can’t be used for the purpose of correction which I would interpret as being used in the same sense as corrections in Department of Corrections i.e. punishment. What it means is that the primary purpose of the spank must be to end or prevent a behaviour that would cause more harm either to the child through injury or to others through injury or a violation of their rights (e.g. interference with another person’s property or their right to peaceful enjoyment of public space). The only thing that is capable of being prosecuted then is the use of physical force to deter future behaviour on discovering behaviour that has already come to an end (e.g. you can’t smack a child because you find out that they broke a glass, you can smack them if the broken glass is still on the floor and they are trying to play with it).

  • im pretty sure that was last year

  • Anonymouse

    I want to say, this is a stupid law. 1, You ought to discipline your child, so that he can depart from such bad manner behavior. 2) That doesn’t mean to use excessive force that will cause childhood drama. 3) No Gov’t is going to tell me how I’m ought to discipline my child, if he’s disrespecting me, and children around him; you better believe he’s going to get a spanking when we get home. End of the story. Because of the lack of true discipline with love in this world, children are growing up with a lack of such good manner and behavior. Wake up please. This is a stupid law.

  • Maria Siep.

    I live in Norway and here spanking is as well illegal (and I am happy for it).
    I think hitting is used when a grown up is angry and frustrated.
    Children need balance people around and discipline, but not hitting them. You need to have clear rules and different strategies when children don’t follow those rules.
    It might take more time and patient, but children feel beloved and safe, and they have then a good confidence.
    We would not like that a stranger hit us, and we would feel quite damaged if our partner would do it for showing disappointment or irritation. If we do it to our children I think we are damaging them in the same way.

  • anon

    Not sure why this is listed as a stupid law. Regardless of whether or not you agree with it, it is hardly along the lines of “don’t give liquor to a fish” is it?

  • Anon

    This is NOT a stupid law, I am in my late teens and the way that my parents punished me was by banning me from something I loved or grounding me. There were also some creative punishments that they made up like waking me up at 5 am and do work till 7 am!!! This was enough for me to understand that should not do this again. Children make mistakes, just like grown ups do. Children should grow up in a safe environment with no harm what so ever. So they can grow up and be good people

  • Anon

    The time is wrong on this, here in nz it’s 9.45 pm!

  • Arangi

    This is a stupid law. “It was put in place because so many children would get beaten. much like the previous comment, it was used as an excuse for beating a child.” It has Always been illegal to beat up a child, just like it is illegal to beat up an Adult. This law was created in a knee jerk response to spate of child abuse cases reaching the courts, many resulting in the death of a child.
    The Stupid thing is, It’s Always been illegal to Kill A child, even Before this law. This law wont change that.

  • Arias

    I live in NZ and this really is NOT a stupid law. If you can’t discipline your child without using violence then the problem is with you as a parent, not the child. All hitting them does is teach kids the way to solve problems is with violence and it doesn’t make them respect you as a parent it just makes them fear you which will only lead to them resenting you when they grow up. If you have such a small amount of patience that you can’t be bothered with things like time out or taking toys away etc and have to resort immediately to hitting them then you shouldn’t have kids or maybe someone that is twice your size should beat you every time you screw up so you know how terrifying it is.

  • Anonymous

    How come spanking isn’t considered battery? Why do people find it ok to hit kids just because they are vulnerable and smaller? Battery is when a person hits a person with an intention to harm them. Aren’t you trying to make the kid feel some pain with hitting them so they can behave? So why isnt it called battery? Why is it wrong to hit adults but not kids? If peolpeople can’t be parents without hitting their kids for something stupid then I think they are pretty incompetent. Why can’t they use words and intellect when dealing with kids instead of hitting. A whole majority of people hit kids because they are fustrated. I mean who slaps someone and says that they are not angry? A lied or just a stupid person brainwashed by being hot as a kid. . . . This law is NOT stupid-AT ALL

  • Anonymous

    *lier and *hit not hot

  • Wayne ffs

    Stupid law…….

    If you don’t know the difference between a reprimanding tap and a beating you shouldn’t have kids, pets or a life………….

  • Anonymous

    Kids just shouldn’t be allowed to get hit in the first place. There are other ways of raising kids without hitting. No one is allowed to be hit but kids. All for some discipline. Not adults, not criminals, not elderly just kids. Parents can hit there kids however hard they want as long as there are no bruises. That gives them an excuse to beat them with belts,”paddles”, sticks,cords and to hit them with shoes. Kids make mistakes just like adults do but no one hits or beat an adult for being a human and making mistakes. Just kids and it’s completely unfair. Plus they are smaller and mor vulnerable

  • Barney

    So, this law allows smacking for certain reasons…but it also allows others to spank children not their own – awesome!

  • r riley

    a child, who is supposed to go, wash his face get ready and go to school creeps back inside to play on a pc.. a dad walks in to room and finds him there. and the boy has been very sneaky anyways in general. a smack on the ass is not going to hurt it. for not doing as hes told.
    kids used to get the whip.. and smacks with a wooden spoon.. we all survived. and now this is illegal.. ok, so it always takes one person to go the extra mile and ruin it for everyone else.

  • Raine

    I am 15, and ever since I was 5, I have been spanked with a wooden spoon, until 8, the a paddle/brush, until 11, and now it is a leather belt or a switch/hanger. I am not emotionally damaged, nor do I have psychological issues related to the actual punishment. Let me tell you, after us 3 kids were lined up and belted until one confessed to not capping the toothpaste (little sister), we did not lie. After my sister ran into the road, and almost got hit by a truck, her spanking made her always look both ways. Also, we never, ever have a messy room, nor give attitudes. Why? Because we learned to respect authority, and try to take control so we would not be at the mercy of someone else. I do not know whether it is illegal in the US, but we heve been diciplined in that way

  • Lilirit

    Raine – you and your siblings were spanked for not capping the toothpaste? That is pathetic and sad.

  • zach

    spank em, i got spanked and i turned out all dandy

  • Megan

    Im researching the anti-smacking law for an assignment and i believe that it is not a stupid law. Too many children were getting beaten by their parents and then those parents would go to court where they would be let off because they used ‘reasonable force’. Who is beating your child with something like a riding crop, ‘reasonable force’? How is it okay that we are allowed to hit our children if they don’t do what they are told? It’s not, its just as bad as hitting a partner who doesn’t do something and we call that domestic abuse. We campaign to wives that get beaten to stand up for themselves but children can’t stand up for themselves. They need us, we need to protect them somehow. In saying that, the law has done jack shit. It hasn’t stopped child abuse or the beatings and thats not good enough. Children are still getting hurt in the place where they should be safe and it’s not going to change unless we make a real effort to do something about it. I mean c’mon John key,Sue Bradford and government, a anti-smacking bill isn’t going to stop children from getting hurt; we need a real campaign with more action to protect these children.

  • Taylor

    People are saying how this is very stupid and to me it’s like, “Do you want to be spanked then?” Children are human too and quite frankly no one wants to be spanked!

  • Me

    Thank you! There is no proof of this even hurting kids development by spanking their butt. I spank my kid once to teach him that it is a no no. I got butt spanks as a kid from parents and I’m not messed up or “abused” but what my gram did was abuse she slapped me and if I said ow while she brushed my hair she hit me hard on the head with the brush and all that happened was I hated her never became anti social or anything like they say happens there are limits but a butt spank is not bad it teaches them don’t like being in trouble by being spanked then don’t do it again. Kids are becoming big asshole brats Bc people don’t spank their kids butt and only baby them and this woman on my street wonders why her son disrespects her.

  • GiveTheWookieACookie

    I know this is an old post, but it is humorous. It’s a closed-minded liberal that thinks that if you don’t discipline their spoiled brat like they do, then you’ll scar them for life. I received spankings from my parents, and I never resent them for it because I deserved every one of them. In looking back, I see my parents doing their job, and I believe this is part of growing up. Resenting your parents in adulthood for giving you a spanking to direct you, is the most asinine thing I’ve heard, and it shows one who hasn’t grown up.

  • GiveTheWookieACookie

    “The law clearly states the occasions when “spanking” IS allowed, it simply can’t be used for the purpose of correction”

    This is so ignorant. I’m assuming spanking in foreplay is acceptable, correct?

  • Rivers

    but spanking them with your hands on their butts should not be considered abuse by any force cause when your child smacks you or hits their younger sibling what are you to do?? Just turn the other cheek and say give it your best shot.

  • Rivers

    A child does not need to be treated as an adult they not on the same level as an adult. they should be taught if u act like this and this there is concequences and sorry taking toys and games away and tv radios doesn’t work. if you send your child off they will be severly medicated and they will be held down and restrained and joints pulled out of shockets I know I been there I was one of those kids. Parents should spank their kids beat them with things no but a hand their rear end don’t kill them and it surely don’t make them abusive cause I got spanking by anything my dad got his hands on and I am not an abusive person. yet at same time my child is not gonna cuss at me slap me hit his younger sibling an not think their is nothing to deal with his behavior . sorry no pats on the back here friends. somethings do go to far for some and they should receive help for anger issues and maybe their child taken away but why should everyone be punished for actions they had nothing to do with .

  • Rivers

    no we have worse concequnces as adults it is called jail and prison kids who do not grow up believing there are concequences to everything both positive and negative in their lives makes a drug addict, or someone dealing, a murder, etccccc…. someone who ends locked up constantly.. think about this society.

  • Rivers

    it is

  • Rivers

    can I say a amen to you. you just the truth maybe the prison wouldn’t be so darn packed if kids had parents who cared but most of them had drug addicts and some abusive parents or parents who didn’t care as long as kids wasn’t in their way they didn’t care. People need to shut up that spamking a child is abuse its not when a child is good you reward them when a child is bad you do not give them a darn apt on the back. wake up America if we don’t teach our kids now how to be respectful to everyone then you might as well say God is coming soon. cause the bible says a child is to respect their parents and their elders. a lot of kids no longer have it no yes mam no yes sir no mrs miss mr what are they teaching in English now days not spelling and not manners isn’t it bad enough they took prayer and god out of everything but the church. Lord please save these lost souls who believe kids should rule their parents instead of parents teaching their kids right from wrong. the anti Christ must be born for America is surely sinking with stupidity.

  • Rivers

    sweetie that’s not abuse the office of dss or cps will tell a parent to take away anything a child loves the most in order to gain their control I do say it doesn’t work unless u got a kiss the tale kind of child. Also they waking you up early they do that in military schools and in group homes of all kinds. group homes even make you go to school all year round while all your friends back home get summer vacation. kids should have chores to do for it teaches them responsibilities and if they get an allowance its almost teaching them look u do this its your job your responsibility u earn money jus as u do with a job. they were teaching u the best way to have responsibility for your actions and how it is to really live and be as an adult, if u want to be treated as you are grown then u act like it. if adults make mistakes we go to jail or prisons as our concequences. really we don’t have cncequences as adults we have more laws to follow then a child can ever grasp. in group homes we did all the chores. all the adults had to do was monitor us to make sure we did it right didn’t fight or try to kill each other. u want to learn abuse go there. the put u in a 4’4 room called seclusion u are left there til they say other wise they restain u I seen kids comeout with joints pulled out of shockets u don’t know jack.

  • Rivers


  • Rivers

    amen if a child is being beaten to where they cant walk or they are bleeding or almost dead or dead or they are covered in bruises that’s a beaten. but simply placing your child in time out or over your knee and using your hand to spank them and u do not use either force or belt etccc and u do not leave a bruise on them then u are allowed by law to spank your child hear say by both the police force and the department of social services or cps.

  • John

    God is not real, and you are wrong. You worship a 2000 year old book filled with bigotry and delusion, do you really think it’s all true? If so, you are a complete and utter idiot. A child is not to be a slave to their parents; The fact that you Christians believe in such things is baffling. And your justification for hating homosexuality has also been disproven, so get over yourself. Accept that you were wrong and move on, be a mature person.