Dad PETER TUTAHERA WAITI appears to be a single father who's perpetually drunk. His preschool age kids were found wandering around in traffic while Pops was sleeping off a bender. Police took them home, decided to leave them with dad despite his obvious inebriation (!), and alerted social workers. But before the social workers arrived, the kids had wandered off again (guess Dad still had some more zzz's to catch).
Do you really think that custodial standards are tougher for dads? Doesn't look like it here. And not a word here on what happened to the mother.
Commander backs action over father
Anita Moran 11th November 2009
Rotorua police are standing by their decision to leave two pre-school children in the care of their drunk father.
The children, aged 2 and 4, roamed the streets and crossed Rotorua's busy Old Taupo Rd in peak traffic after their drunk father fell asleep.
Police found the pair playing in the West End New World carpark, took them home and alerted social workers. But before the social workers arrived, the children wandered off a second time after their father fell asleep again. The children were later found playing in a nearby church yard.
The case has sparked outrage and disbelief among Rotorua residents and national family advocates.
The father, Peter Tutahera Waiti, 32, appeared before Judge Jocelyn Munro in the Rotorua District Court last week and pleaded guilty to two charges of leaving children under the age of 14 unsupervised.
Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne said he stood by the officers' decision to leave the children with their father.
"In this specific situation the two officers followed standard procedures," he said.
"They correctly applied the provisions and principles of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act and made a risk assessment in respect of the safety of the children."
Mr Horne said the officers also got advice from their supervisor before leaving the house.
"Although the supervisor was satisfied that the situation had been made safe, the overall circumstances of the case prompted him to immediately advise Child Youth and Family of what had occurred."
Mr Horne said this type of incident was happening all across the country and was not unique to Rotorua.
"Unfortunately police throughout New Zealand are dealing with situations involving serious parental neglect on a daily basis.
"These cases usually involve the same families, where the consumption of alcohol is prioritised over the safety and wellbeing of the family, in particular the children," he said.
"The children in these families are often left to fend for themselves and often engage in criminal activities from a young age."
Mr Horne said Rotorua police worked with several different agencies and community groups in an effort to manage such situations.
"Reducing alcohol-related harm is a priority for police and a number of stakeholders who work with police, including other Government agencies, health organisations and the Rotorua District Council, which is the regulatory authority in relation to the sale and purchase of alcohol," he said.
"At some point, up to 70 per cent of calls for police are the result of alcohol-related incidents."
Mr Horne said the most commonly encountered and significant alcohol related-incidents for Rotorua police included family violence and child abuse in the home, disorderly, offensive and violent behaviour in public places and alcohol-impaired drivers on the roads.