Given the common understanding of “smacking” involves an open palm, sharp slap, leaving no enduring mark or injury to the child, it is most unlikely to constitute physical abuse. Oranga Tamariki are concerned primarily with the abuse and neglect of children, not incidents of light smacking. A report to Oranga Tamariki of a light smack of a child will not, in the absence of any other aggravating circumstances, constitute grounds for further action.
Section 59 states:
(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."
'smacking' in itself is not an offence
If you don’t have a lawyer in court you can ask the court to let you have someone at your hearing to help you with your case. They’re called a lay assistant (or a McKenzie Friend).
You’ll need to tell the court you want help in court before your hearing.
Both you and the person who you want to be your lay assistant need to fill in a form."