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Bureaucracy shuts hundreds of school pools

Bureaucracy shuts hundreds of school pools

The water safety of New Zealand children is being put at risk because of ridiculous new water testing rules which have forced the closure of hundreds of school pools this summer, says National’s Education spokesperson Nick Smith.

“January is the best swimming month and generations of New Zealanders have flocked to the local school pool. But this summer, over 250 pools have been closed because they can’t meet the Government’s stringent new water-testing system which requires testing to be done every two hours.

“The combination of these testing requirements, new OSH laws and an increasingly litigious environment is making schools so risk-averse that they’re keeping their pools padlocked this summer.

“This is a killjoy policy which will backfire. Children will swim in more risky places like river holes and beaches, or not swim at all which will mean they miss out on learning water skills in a safe environment. More children will drown.

“This is ridiculous red tape. The Government hasn’t come up with any evidence of serious illness caused by school pool water, nor has it considered the water quality of private pools.

“It’s just dumped this additional burden on school boards without any thought of the cost factor or the practicality.

“These rules will also undermine volunteer support for schools. Hundreds of school pools have been funded by the community in return for the use of pool outside school hours. This policy is a bureaucratic attack on these core community values and it must go.

“National would inject some commonsense into these standards so families can continue the tradition of a dip in the school pool over summer,” says Dr Smith.

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