The champion of the anti-smacking law, Green Party MP Sue Bradford, says it is hard to draw any conclusions from the referendum results based on such a flawed question.
The referendum asked "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"
In preliminary results, 87.6% have voted no and 11.81% voted yes.
Bradford says even though people care passionately about the issue, just over half of eligible voters cast votes.
"When you add the yes vote and the spoilt vote to the number of voters who didn't vote at all the figures are about even," says Bradford."
She attributes "this inconclusive result" to the referendum question being so flawed with its "mixed and ambiguous messaging" that even many supporters of the law change mistakenly voted no, while some people who oppose the current law voted yes.
All four police reviews have already shown that the law is working well as parliament intended, and the government has previously said it will continue to support the law, Bradford says.
"With New Zealand facing such difficult economic times, many Kiwis felt annoyed at the confused nature of this referendum question and the waste of $9 million worth of taxpayers' money this represents."
"I would have a much greater respect for the referendum result if it was based on a clearer question.
"It is important that 'no' voters realise the law stands, and tonight's referendum result does not mean they can now hit children."
Click here for a
timeline of the anti-smacking legislation.
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