Labour, NZ First vote against tougher penalties for coward punches that kill

Stuff reports:

The decision to vote down a bill, that would see offenders of king-hits causing death face a maximum of 20 years in prison, has been met with “anger and disappointment” by survivors of recent attacks.

National MP Matt King’s Coward Punch Causing Death bill is now effectively dead in the water.

There was hope the bill, first drawn in September 2018, would go further given some recent attacks in Auckland.

But it stalled at the first hurdle, voted down by 63 votes from Labour, NZ First and the Green Party during its first reading. …

A 24-year-old Auckland man, who was involved in one of the incidents in early June, told Stuff he felt let down by the news it wouldn’t be going any further.

He witnessed the attack on his friend, who was punched from the side and left unconscious for more than 15 minutes.

“I’m just angry to be honest, it seems like there’s no real deterrent for these types of attacks, it’s just like any other assault,” he said.

“I don’t get politics and that, but it seems pretty simple to pass for me – they already have something similar in Australia and it works.”

In 2014, Australia’s Government of Victoria introduced the Coward’s Punch Manslaughter Law, which carries a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence.

Joseph Esmaili, who killed a respected Australian heart surgeon with a single punch in 2019, was the first person sentenced under the law.

A real shame the three Government parties voted down this bill. Such attacks need to be deterered and punished.

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