I'm posting this here, although it's actually an answer to this post on Tactical Ninja because I didn't want to deface Tatnja's LJ with a 400 word political rant/essay...
Firstly, I'd be the first to agree that NZ is a bit overregulated. I'd like to be allowed skyrockets. Or to drive on deserted South Island roads at a bit more than 100km/h. Or to go to a (mainstream) festival without having to pass through checkpoints between the "beer-free" and "child-free" areas. Or to advocate sofa burning (actually, I *can* - the Dunedin police just failed to prosecute a publican for that).
I don't think thumping kids falls into that category though. Small people are people, and they have rights not to be assaulted like anyone else. That's all changing the law does. The cops aren't going to wade in every time someone is spotted slapping their kid in Woolworths, but there will be the ability for the authorities to deal with violent abusive parents without them being able to claim immunity on grounds of "discipline".
Something I would also note is that, since schoolteachers have been banned from physical punishment, instances of teacher-child abuse (like the dreadful behaviour of "Christian" Brothers in the 1960s) has declined almost to zero.
Finally, I think NZ has a bit of an issue with violence and it's acceptability. Something I've noticed here is that people will say quite often "if you do/say x you'll get beaten up". Which they didn't in England. Or Switzerland. Or even the US (I guess when your preferred instrument of violence is a firearm you have to be that bit more sparing about when you bring it to bear). I think that needs to change and less clouting of kids might be a small step.
(BTW, Sue Bradford has three children)