A member of the public who acted after seeing a baby alone in a car in a pub carpark did the right thing and raised the alarm, police say.
Detective Sergeant Tony Heathcote said police were called to the Kuripuni Tavern in Masterton about 11pm on Saturday and found the lightly clad 1-year-old girl in her carseat in a car outside the pub.
The man driving the car was also supposed to be looking after two other children, aged 10 and 11, but they were found alone at a Masterton house.
The person who saw the baby in the car "did the right thing'' and went into the pub and told someone who called police.
"At about the time (police) arrived, he (the father) came out,'' Mr Heathcote told APNZ.
The baby and the two other children were released into their mother's care, and Child Youth and Family were working with the family, Mr Heathcote said.
"Every child deserves the right to be looked after and cared for, not neglected and left in a vehicle outside a pub on a Saturday night.
"Then there are these other two that have been left at home ... (who) knows what they could have got up to, the dangers that children are exposed to if they're left unsupervised?
"It was really quite a nasty set of circumstances.''
A 39-year-old has been charged with driving with excess breath alcohol and wilful neglect of three children.
The incident follows one in Auckland last month, when five children were left alone in a locked van in the Sky City casino carpark while their parents gambled inside.