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New pool safety standard doesn't solve issue

Media Release
27 June 2006

New pool safety standard doesn’t solve complex issue

Proposed new standards for pool safety released on 19 June by Standards New Zealand do not help solve the questions raised by such a complex issue, says councillor Derek Battersby, chairman of the Swimming Pool Exemption committee.

“Waitakere City Council, with other territorial authorities, went to the High Court in 2004 to seek a clearer definition of the term ‘immediate pool area’ because of ambiguity in existing legislation,”says councillor Battersby.

The judge ruled that any further interpretation of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act should be done by Parliament, not the courts.

However the judge’s acknowledgement of an existing grey area in the law, which makes it difficult for both pool owners and local authorities to understand and comply with their obligations, was helpful. It was hoped this would spur some legislative action from Central Government.

“It is good to see some effort being made in response to the judgement, but it does little to answer our original questions about the issue in regards to defining barriers and areas around pools,” says councillor Battersby.

The Standard, which is being developed by an expert committee of representatives from a cross-section of organisations, will limit unsupervised access to swimming pools, spas and hot tubs by establishing layers of protection for young children against the potential for drowning.

The intention in developing the Standard is to enable Parliament to consider using it as a replacement for the Schedule in the Fencing of Swimming Pool Act 1987, by way of an amendment to the Act.

The submissions period runs from 19 June to 11 August 2006. For a copy of the public comment draft please contact Vicki Allison at Standards NZ on vicki.allison@standards.co.nz or 04 495 0932 or see the following websites:
The Department of Building and Housing: www.dbh.govt.nz
Water Safety New Zealand: www.watersafety.org.nz


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