A 70-year-old has been charged with drink driving causing death after a new father died after being hit by a car as he cycled home.

Frank van Kampen, 46, had been cycling along State Highway 1 between Otaki and Waikanae on September 18.

Local woman Alison Downer failed a breath test at the scene and had her licence suspended for 28 days.

After a six-week investigation, she was charged on Friday and is banned from driving until the case is heard.

If found guilty, she faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Van Kampen's widow, Jude Pauwels, said last night the charge was "disappointing".

The accident robbed her son Dante, 13, and baby Alexandra of growing up with a father, and she had hoped police would consider a manslaughter charge.

"I am incredibly distraught and extremely disappointed by what I believe to be an appallingly inadequate charge.

"What value does our legal system place upon a human life? Clearly very little."

Downer and her lawyer, Sandy Baigent, both refused to comment yesterday.

Downer is due to appear before Levin District Court on Thursday.

- HERALD ON SUNDAY