New Zealand Smacking Referendum Nears Close

Aug. 20, 2009, midnight

Voting in New Zealand ends Friday in a month-long referendum on legalizing corporal punishment in the home. As of last week, more than 1.3 million people had returned ballots in the vote, which authorities are running exclusively by mail. Behind the referendum are opponents of a 2007 law criminalizing "smacking" but explicitly allowing police the discretion not to charge offenders. The referendum question asks, "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

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