A book teaching parents how to smack, thump and pull their children's hair could soon be banned in New Zealand following a complaint.
To Train Up a Child has been removed from Whitcoulls' online store but other leading book sites are still selling it.
The book, by fundamentalist United States Christians Michael and Debi Pearl, promotes using a rod, such as a branch or belt, several times on a child as a way of disciplining and training them to obey.
It has courted controversy worldwide after a California couple who followed the book's instructions were convicted of murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.
The New Zealand Internal Affairs Department's Censorship Compliance Unit confirmed it was investigating the book after a complaint was made last week.
An American child abuse victim, now living in New Zealand, complained to Whitcoulls, which agreed to remove the book from its website. The victim said he was shocked to find out the book was being sold in New Zealand, despite the country's
anti-smacking law. He said: I'm not one to prevent books from being sold, ...BUT... I think an instruction manual on how to enact violence on your child is a completely different story.
Sue Bradford, who campaigned as a Green Party MP to remove the defence of reasonable force when disciplining a child, said she was concerned parents would buy the book and follow its instructions.
Censorship Compliance Unit manager Stephen OBrien said the book's content would be investigated and, if it was found to be objectionable, it could be either banned, restricted or referred to the human rights or children's commissioners.
There are 1309 books already banned in New Zealand.