A man who assaulted his partner in a car with his two children in the back seat has been given a community-based sentence.

Jamie Kepa Sheehy's partner threw a drink at him during an argument while they were in a car in New Plymouth in November.

In response, Sheehy grabbed the victim by the throat and punched her five or six times in the left knee, Judge David Cameron said in Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

"The argument continued outside the car with the defendant pushing her, which caused her to fall over," Judge Cameron said.

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The woman got into the car and drove off.

She suffered multiple scratches to her neck.

She also sustained bruising on her knee and wrist, and grazed toes.

Sheehy pleaded guilty to male assaults female.

He has two previous convictions, but neither are for violence-related offending.

A pre-sentence report judged him to be at low risk of reoffending.

Judge Cameron sentenced him to 60 hours of community work and six months of supervision.