14 Oct 2016

Peters calls for murder charge for single-hit deaths

12:31 pm on 14 October 2016

New Zealand First wants a new offence created specifically for single punches that result in death.

Winston Peters addresses the Police Association conference.

Winston Peters addresses the Police Association conference. Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told the Police Association conference this morning there had been too many cases of innocent people dying from a single punch.

He said New Zealand First would ensure that if a punch victim died, the perpetrator would be charged with murder and would go to prison for a minimum of eight years.

"When you hit somebody like these people are hitting somebody, your intend it to do the worst possible damage and you should be required to take into account that what you've done could cause them to die - [and that if you do so,] you are now a murderer."

Police Association President Chris Cahill said such punches were definitely an issue that needed to be addressed.

"We'd certainly like to have a good discussion around it, the coward's punch is something that I've seen the tragedy of in my day job in Auckland, so we'd certainly want to have a conversation around it."

Mr Peters also pledged to boost police numbers by 1800 and to have speed cameras used only in accident-prone areas, saying they were being used a revenue gatherers.

Mr Cahill rejected that assertion, saying the cameras were used as a deterrent and could save lives.

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