Northland MP Matt King has accepted a petition calling for tougher sentences for those who throw a cowardly punch at an unsuspecting victim and cause death.

“The petition, which has more than 11,500 signatures, was presented to me by members of the community who are angry at the sentence received by Patrick Tarawa for the death of Chris Vujcich.

“Patrick Tarawa was sentenced to 10 months home detention following a road rage incident where he threw a fatal punch.  

“National MPs are wary about criticising the judiciary but like in the tragic case of Nathan Kraatskow, who was killed in a hit and run and whose killer also received home detention, there’s a strong feeling in the community about this case and the sentence.

“Between these two cases, we’ve seen tens of thousands of New Zealanders express their frustration and disappointment at sentences they think are too light.  

“This follows signals from the Government that they’re going soft on crime and that’s being picked up by the judiciary.

“When you've got a Government that’s focused on having fewer people in prison without a plan to reduce crime, you’re going to end up with softer sentences and more people whose punishments don’t fit their crimes. You’ll also get more victims.

“I encourage the Government to vote in favour of my Member’s Bill which is currently before Parliament. It would create a new offence of Assault Causing Death with a maximum prison sentence of 20-years.

“National will always be on the side on victims which is why I am presenting this petition to Parliament.”

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