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The facts about the proposed Kapiti Beach Bylaw 08

19 September 2008

The facts about the proposed Kapiti Beach Bylaw 2008

Contrary to the initial report on the front page of the Dominion Post on September 15, NO recommendation was ever made to the Kapiti Coast District Council to endorse nudity on the beach and the Council did not endorse a recommendation which did not exist.

The initial clear misreporting of the situation was then exaggerated and made worse by further reports in other media which inferred or implied that the Council had voted for a bylaw to allow nudists on the beach.

While Council issued a statement explaining the background issues and that it was not in favour of and had not voted to make nudity on the beach legal, this was largely ignored.

Also contrary to public perceptions the bylaw has not been passed by the Council already. The Council resolved to send it to the community for further consultation. Copies of the existing and the proposed bylaw are on the Council website and available from the libraries and council offices.

THE FACTS

• Council must review its bylaws every five years. Earlier this year a pre-consultation discussion document on the beach bylaw was presented and widely discussed in public meetings up and down the district.

• In the existing Beach Bylaw 2002 there is no reference to nudity or any section which prohibits nudity on the beach. The bylaw contains the following clause:

15.1 Council may by publicly notified resolution define any part of the beach, foreshore and dunes as a “clothing optional” area. Such an area shall be appropriately signposted. Clothing optional areas

No such publicly notified resolution has ever been proposed during the life of the current bylaw.

• In the pre-consultation document the “clothing optional” proposal was retained but with the addition of two further suggestions:

5.1 No person behaving in an offensive manner shall remain on any part of the beach

And

5.2 No person shall remain upon any part of the beach in deliberate view of others in such a state of undress as to cause offence.

• Advice received by the Council was that the proposed Section 5.1 is covered in section 4 of the Summary Offences Act 1980. Only the Police have the power to arrest a person who is committing the offence of offensive or disorderly behaviour.

• Because of that, it was recommended to the Council that section 5.1 be removed from the draft proposal.

• Advice on Section 5.2 was that it was outdated and may not be enforceable. Anyone behaving lewdly, however, is still liable for prosecution by the Police under the Summary Offences Act.

• Since it appears unlikely that the Council could successfully prosecute anyone for nudity on the beach, it was recommended that any reference to naked sunbathers on the beach be removed from the draft proposed bylaw and that the Council instead continue to rely on criminal prosecution through the Courts by the Police to deal with clear cases of offensive behaviour.

• The possibility that “clothing optional” areas might be considered has been retained in the proposed bylaw but must still be publicly notified and consulted on before any such area might be designated and signposted.

• At no stage have the Council or councillors supported, promoted or condoned any nudity on the beach as media stories this week have claimed.

IN SUMMARY:

• There was no recommendation and there has never been any recommendation to allow nudity on the Kapiti Coast’s beaches.

• The Council did not and could not endorse a recommendation that did not exist.

• Prosecution for any offensive behaviour was and continues to be the role of the Police.

• There is no practical difference between the existing bylaw and the proposed one on whether any areas of Kapiti’s beaches are “clothing optional”.

• If there is any proposal in the future that any section of the beach might be made “clothing optional”, that proposal can only be decided upon by the Council after full public notification and consultation.

• The Draft Beach Bylaw 2008 contains no reference to nudity. It does contain a variety of recommendations on ways to make our beaches safer and better places for families and people who want to use the beaches for legitimate purposes.

• These include banning all two wheeled motorbikes from the beach, introducing a 20 km/h speed limit on the foreshore and a 10 km/h speed limit through beach access-ways signposted for vehicle use. It proposes a 50 metre disability parking area at the edge of boat launching areas. Horse riders would no longer need permits to ride on various parts of the beach and there is a proposal to set sustainable limits on the quantity of certain beach resources that can be removed from the beach. .There is also a proposal to allow fires on the beach subject to a permit.

• The Council welcomes submissions from members of the public on all aspects of the proposed bylaw. Submissions will close on October 24 2008 although this date may be extended.

ENDS

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