The mother of a 15-year-old boy killed in a drunken hit and run says she started a petition calling for a longer sentence for the teenager so other families don't go through the same pain.
Air force cadet Nathan Kraatskow, 15, died in May when a learner driver hit him at an intersection in Albany in north Auckland.
Rouxle Le Roux, 19, had drunk wine and smoked cannabis earlier in the day before the Mercedes she was driving crashed into Kraatskow as he crossed the intersection on a small bike.
The 15-year-old died at the scene. Le Roux and her two passengers failed to stop.
Le Roux was sentenced in the Auckland District Court on Friday to 11 months' home detention and 250 hours of community work for dangerous driving causing death.
Unhappy with the sentence, Kraatskow's mother Charlene Kraatskow yesterday started a petition on Change.org questioning the New Zealand justice system and calling on prosecutors to appeal Le Roux's sentence and seek a harsher penalty.
"I don't think taking someone's life and only getting 11 month's home detention is setting a very good precedent for the kids of today," she told the Herald.
"They see they can smoke weed, get in a car drunk, drive and then can kill someone and get 11 months' home detention."
Kraatskow said she was amazed at the support her petition received online as 45,000 people signed it within hours of going live.
"The lack of remorse and making light out of her actions is a real concern to me," a signatory to the petition Amber Hopkins wrote.
"A hit and run is not an accident. Leaving someone to die is murder. Eleven months to sit at home is not a punishment," Leon Senf wrote.
Charlene said the outpouring of support had been amazing.
"It makes us realise we are not the only ones that think it is wrong," she said.
While Charlene initially felt sorry for Le Roux, she was horrified to later find out the 19-year-old had posted a photo to Instagram of her wearing an orange jumpsuit with the caption: "Hide your children".
"I just could not understand how someone could be so heartless and think this whole thing was a joke?" Kraatskow's mother told the court.
She told the Herald she initially thought Le Roux would be devastated and struggle her whole life to come to terms with the fact she had killed another person.
Instead, Charlene said her family watched as Le Roux posted photos of herself partying on Instagram, before then posting the "disgusting and disrespectful" post of herself in the prison-like jumpsuit on Halloween.
She said the feeling Le Roux was treating the justice system like a joke had added to her family's pain.
"I never want this to happen to another family," she said.
She said she thought the justice system needed overhauling.
Judge Nicola Mathers said during Friday's sentencing she thought Le Roux was genuinely remorseful and that there was "no purpose" in sentencing her to prison.
Le Roux's lawyer, Belinda Sellars, QC, also told the court her client accepted "full heartedly" her Instagram post was "ill-thought out".
"At the end of the day this was an accident," she said.
To successfully secure a harsher sentence, Kraatskow's family would need the backing of Government prosecutors at the Crown Law office, whose job is to make the decision on whether there is adequate grounds for an appeal.
Dr Bill Hodge from the University of Auckland's law faculty said he believed the "evil, ugly" Instagram photo Le Roux posted of herself in the orange, jumpsuit was reason for prosecutors to give careful consideration to an appeal.
He thought the photo could be seen to nullify any previous evidence of remorse and act as a possible reason to appeal against the judge's decision to use remorse as a mitigating factor in Le Roux's sentence.
"I would say the mother should have a pretty good chance to have serious consideration given to an appeal," he said.
Charlene, meanwhile, said her family can't put words to the loss Kraatskow's death had left behind.
"It's very hard, but I know Nathan would be saying to me: 'Mum you've got my sisters and my brother to care for, you need to get up out of bed, carry on and look after them'," she said.