Lasers, sharks, coward-punches and languages: Four Bills drawn from the biscuit tin

Lasers, sharks, coward-punches and languages: Four Bills drawn from the biscuit tin
Photo credit: Getty Images

Four new Members' Bills have been drawn from the biscuit tin at Parliament, proposing new legislation about lasers, sharks, punches and languages.

They are in the names of National MPs Nikki Kaye, Sarah Dowie, Matt King and Hamish Walker and will be debated in Parliament.

Mr King's Bill proposes to bring in tougher penalties for "coward punches" also known as 'king-hits'.

"My Bill would create a new offence of Assault Causing Death, which would be easier to prove than manslaughter. It would apply to those who throw cowardly punches at unsuspecting victims who later die from their injuries and has a maximum penalty of 20-years imprisonment.

"This will send a clear message to offenders that thuggish and violent behaviour won't be tolerated," Mr King says. 

Mr Walker's bill would bring in harsher consequences for laser pointer offences.

"The High-Power Laser Pointer Bill will double the term of imprisonment available and the fines, up to six months and $4000. The safety of our pilots and their passengers is paramount and anyone who interferes with that should be punished appropriately."

Ms Kaye's Bill is about languages in schools, and aims to ensure all students from year one to eight have access to learn a second language.

"It requires the Education Minister to set at least 10 priority languages following public consultation, and places a requirement on the Crown to fund these languages," Ms Kaye says.

"It will be up to school boards to decide which languages will be taught in schools but they will be required to offer at least one second language to their students.

"The Bill makes clear that NZ Sign and Te Reo must be national priority languages and funded by the crown. The benefits of speaking more than one language are huge for New Zealand from a social, economic and cultural perspective."

Ms Dowie's bill aims to bring in new safety measures around shark cage diving in close proximity to beaches.

"This risk is increased due to the nature of competing activities in coastal waters in the Stewart Island area, where shark cage diving is currently carried out. Water-users, residents and families on Stewart Island have felt endangered by shark cage diving operations that are carried out close to the shore. The decision is timely given yesterday's Court of Appeal decision which would shut cage divers down," she said.