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Don't Blame Court When There Are No Volunteers

Don't Blame The Court When There Are No Sports Volunteers

ACT New Zealand Sport Spokesman Stephen Franks today labelled event manager Astrid Anderson's conviction this week as a tragedy.

"The term `social engineering' is tossed at every dictatorial Government action, but the law that pursues decent and well-meaning volunteers with criminal prosecutions deserves it more than any other. It could engineer the biggest change in New Zealand society," Mr Franks said.

"Who will take pupils on school camping trips? Who will coach kids in sports as diverse as hockey and kayaking, when a hazard that's always present could mature into crushing criminal liability?

"I agree wholeheartedly with the Greens' condemnation of the law that has reached this result. I take issue with only one point. There's no point in approaching SPARC or the Minister.

"They make soothing noises, but are absolutely committed to the Nanny State vision that would rather have the police chasing accidental, unintentional wrongdoers like Astrid Anderson, or the Queenstown motor race marshals, or countless other volunteers, than the far more numerous deliberate wrongdoers and criminals who terrorise entire suburbs and intimidate the police.

"This is not a criticism of the courts. The Judges have to apply the new law. It is a criticism of the priorities that pour enforcement resource into prosecuting mistakes, instead of deliberately calculated harm to others.

"When the police don't even turn up to most burglaries their prosecution priorities have to be questioned. Police Minister George Hawkins and Sport Minister Trevor Mallard should be in the dock when the social engineers have finished their job, and we find a generation of kids who are helpless off the tarmac - because nobody has ever been willing to lead them, or to let them take a risk," Mr Franks said.

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