Nats join Adesanya in calling for tougher 'coward punch' laws

Source: 1News

The National Party have thrown their weight behind a call for tougher punishments for those found to have thrown a 'coward punch'.

On Wednesday, UFC star Israel Adesanya made an emotional plea in which he challenged Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to establish harsher penalties.

The appeal from Adesanya and his City Kickboxing (CKB) gym stablemates came after Tuesday’s sentencing of a man involved in a fatal attack on Fau Vake, one of their fighters.

The UFC champion fronted media after Ofa He Mooni Folau, one of four men charged in relation to the death of Fau Vake, was sentenced to six months' home detention.

National List MP Maureen Pugh issued a statement today saying the Government ought to reverse its stance on coward punches.

“The Government must reverse its opposition to creating a new offence to apply to people who throw ‘coward punches,” the party's spokesperson for emergency management and the community and voluntary sector said.

“National’s Crimes (Coward Punch Causing Death) Amendment Bill would create a new offence of Assault Causing Death and would apply to those who throw cowardly punches at unsuspecting victims who later die from their injuries.

“It would provide an alternative to manslaughter and proposes a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.”

Pugh said “the fate of the bill depends on it being drawn in the ballot and on support from the Labour Government”.

“After another tragic death, this time of Fau Vake, this bill is imperative. It sends a clear message to offenders that thuggish and violent behaviour won’t be tolerated.

“It’s disgraceful that the Labour Government voted it down when we first introduced it in 2018. With yet another young man losing his life, Simeon Brown and I aren’t prepared to let this go, given people continue to die as a result of Labour’s soft-on-crime approach.

“It’s clear that tougher penalties are required – especially where the crime results in a death.

“National will always be on the side of victims and we hope that this Bill will receive support from across all parties in Parliament."