Prime Minister John Key says reopening the debate over changing the child discipline law would distract the New Zealand public and Parliament for months.
The man behind a referendum to do away with the law, Larry Baldock, says he approached Mr Key with an offer to cancel the upcoming smacking referendum, on the condition the current law is changed.
That was rebuffed by Mr Key who says, apart from anything, it is doubtful whether any law change would get the numbers in the current Parliament.
Mr Key says he does not think it is in the country's best interest to throw the debate wide open once again.
Mr Baldock says that response is disappointing and he intends to make contact with Mr Key again.
The referendum is to be held in August by postal ballot.
The question is: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction should be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"