Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says she is surprised by the reaction to the appointment of Christine Rankin as a Families Commissioner.
Ms Rankin was a controversial figure as the head of Work and Income.
More recently she has been a vocal opponent of the child discipline law, which was supported by the Families Commission.
The Maori Party says someone who supports the use of force against children should not be on the commission.
United Future Party leader Peter Dunne says Ms Rankin is divisive and she should turn the job down if she "really cares" about New Zealand families.
Ms Bennett says she did not expect such a reaction and concedes the situation could have been handled better.
A fellow appointee to the Families Commission says Christine Rankin has been unfairly pre-judged.
Bruce Pilbrow told Morning Report that Ms Rankin is focused and smart and will make a strong contribution to the Commission.