In February, five children were found trapped in a van in a Sky City parking lot. It was discovered that their parents had abandoned them in the vehicle while they gambled. Now, the parents have pleaded guilty to the crime and now face having their children taken way and possibly going to jail.
This week, the couple appeared before court, where they pleaded guilty to child neglect. All of the children in the van were under the age of 14, the legal age at which children can be left alone without supervision. It was also a health hazard as locking children in a car is very dangerous.
The story made headlines back in February, as it highlighted the issue of problem gambling in New Zealand. It brought to light several other cases of child neglect that have taken place as a result of gambling addiction, causing politicians to think about new ways to curb problem gambling rates in the city. John Key, however, stated that child abandonment can take place anywhere; a supermarket parking lot, for example.
The couple have been released on bail, and they will appear in court again in September for sentencing.