INDEPENDENT NEWS

Wetsuit Regulation An Infringement of Rights

Published: Mon 26 Nov 2001 11:30 AM
Wetsuit Regulation An Infringement of Personal Rights
ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today called on the Minister of Local Government Sandra Lee to step in and give clear a direction that local councils should not be passing punitive restrictive rules such as that which will see surfers, windsurfers and boogie boarders required to wear wetsuits in Northland and Waikato.
"Compliance with such regulations would be farcical. Do we expect to see armies of inspectors out on the beaches at Whangamata, Waihi and Paihia handing out $200 fines to five-year-old children playing in the shallows with boogie boards?
"This is just more red tape and self-perpetuating bureaucracy. It is meddling in peoples lives and is a quite unnecessary restriction under the guise of safety. As a surfing enthusiast myself I can empathise with the comments made by the Surfing New Zealand President that wetsuits don't give you any more buoyancy and that `you would die of heat exhaustion before you died of cold' in summer.
"This petty-minded regulation just demonstrates the kind of abuses we can expect from local councils if they are given powers of general competence this Government is determined to award.
"Sandra Lee must urgently take these power-absorbed councils in hand and direct them that regulations such as this won't be tolerated," Ken Shirley said.
ENDS

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