The Government has ordered an urgent investigation into the death of a two-month-old boy suffocated by his mother after a day-long drinking binge.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced tonight that she had asked the chief executive of Child, Youth and Family to investigate.
In the High Court at Rotorua this morning Ngaire Tukiwaho pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter for the death of her two-month-old son Tahi.
The Rotorua mother was jailed for two years and one month.
Tukiwaho had been on a 12 hour drinking binge when she fell asleep in the back seat of her car and suffocated her baby who had been lying on her shoulder, the court was told.
When she woke in the morning he was blue and attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Justice Graham Lang said Tukiwaho had no intention of killing her son but the sustained period of drinking effectively robbed her of any sound judgement.
"Your son was completely dependent on you for his survival and you failed him completely," Justice Lang said.
"He trusted you and you failed him and he paid for it with his life."
Tukiwaho did everything to make the child comfortable but he slipped off her shoulder while she slept and he was unable to breath, Justice Lang said.
Lawyer Harry Edward said Tukiwaho would have access to counselling in prison for her alcoholism and he was confident she would be able to overcome her problem.
Bennett said there were too many unanswered questions about the family.
"It is quite clear there was a history of serious dysfunction in the home with a mother who did not put her children first and a father who'd had two children previously removed by CYF.
"I think most New Zealanders would be deeply concerned to hear a baby was suffocated to death in the back seat of a car while his drunk mother slept."
"I think they'd also be concerned there was previous involvement with the family," Bennett said.
In 2008 Tukiwaho lost a one-month-old baby from sudden infant death syndrome.
- The Dominion Post