Protesters demand change after Moko's death

Protesters demand change after Moko's death

A group marching in protest of the manslaughter charge handed to baby Moko's killers has delivered a petition to Parliament calling for an end to Crown-initiated plea deals.

About 40 people chanted "manslaughter, not murder" and "justice for Moko" on the short walk on Thursday afternoon from Midland Park to Parliament grounds.

Protesters demand change after Moko's death

The protests marched through the central city to Parliament (Ben Irwin / Newshub.)

Mother-of-three Katie Tahere drove from New Plymouth especially for the march.

"I've got three mokos myself," says Ms Tahere. "It shouldn't be like this, it isn't fair that these people are taking these little babies' lives."

The petition of 16,000 signatures calling for an end to Crown-initiated plea deals was accepted by New Zealand First MP Denis O'Rourke on the steps of Parliament. 

Tania Shailer and her partner David William Haerewa were earlier this year sentenced to 17 years jail after pleading guilty to charges of manslaughter over three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri death.

They were originally charged with murder but were able to accept plea deals for the lesser charge.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson later said the Crown wanted to secure a conviction over the death rather than risk a jury trial for murder where they could escape penalty.

Speaking at today's event, former ACT MP David Garrett said this "shabby sort of dealing" needs to stop.

"It's not plea bargaining - it's plea arrangement, it's plea discussions... it's nonsense, absolute nonsense."

Labour MP Stuart Nash also gave his thoughts on Moko's case.

"That was murder - make no bones about it." 

Shailer and Haerewa have both lodged appeals to their 17 year sentences. 

"That just makes me sick - that just makes me sick to even hear that," says Ms Tahere. "To me it's murder - no ifs and no buts."

Their appeals will be heard at the Court of Appeal on November 3 in Wellington.