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Kapiti Nude Beaches and Council Shocker

24 September 2008

Kapiti Nude Beaches and Council Shocker

The Kapiti Coast Media Release dated 19 September, published at ratepayers' expense in the Kapiti-Observer on Monday, is a shocker. It seeks to 'clarify' matters relating to its proposed Beach Bylaw 2008, but contains a number of false and misleading statements. Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan, Deputy Mayor Anne Chapman and Councillors Anne Molineux and Peter Ellis have all gone public in the media endorsing, albeit with some reservations, nudity on Kapiti beaches.

False Statement 1

"The possibility that “clothing optional” areas might be considered has been retained in the proposed bylaw [2008] but must still be publicly notified and consulted on before any such area might be designated and signposted."

Our Society spokesperson informed Mr Tony Cronin, Kapiti Council Communication Manager, on Friday 19 September, that this is a false statement. He responded to the complaint in a telephone discussion by saying that "it probably was" but made no effort to correct the published version. The 2008 Draft Bylaw posted on the KCDC website has section 15.1 - "Clothing optional areas" (contained in the current bylaw that was enacted in 2002) - completely removed. S. 15.1 from the 2002 Bylaw which remains in force, states: "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." [see www.kcdc.govt.nz ] If s. 15.1 is removed as proposed by Council, there is nothing in their Draft 2008 Bylaw that has been "retained" from the existing bylaw that would allow for a "clothing option" area to be "considered" by Council, let alone empower it to designate and signpost such an beach area after public consultation and notification. Our Society understands the legal rationale for the removal of s. 15.1 and is not opposed to its removal. However, it is very upset that the Councillors have claimed or suggested to the media that by its removal, the effect will be that Council now supports a 45 km "clothing optional" beachfront on the entire Kapiti Coast. This is a legal nonsense. The Dominion Post report ("Concillors vote for nudity" 15/09/08) stated: "Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan and 10 councillors unanimously supported the inclusion of the stance ["... to allow nudity along the 45-kilometre coastline as long as it is not deemed "lewd"..."].... Ms Rowan welcomed the move, saying it meant there would be no signs confining naturists to specific areas of the beach. 'There will be no signage, they will have free rein.. they can be clothed or unclothed'..." False Media Statement 2 "There is no practical difference between the existing bylaw and the proposed one on whether any areas of Kapiti’s beaches are “clothing optional”.

The existing 2002 by law (s. 15.1) does have a "practical difference" to the draft proposed. It allows for a mechanism whereby Council "may by publicly notified resolution define any part of the beach, foreshore and dunes as a “clothing optional” area..." No such zone has ever been notified to the public. The proposed 2008 bylaw removes the statutory requirements of public notification and signage, prior to the declaration of any area of beach as "clothing optional". All practical legal impediments would appear to have been removed allowing Ms Rowan and her 10 Councillors to just utter a declaration as to the new status of the Kapiti Coast without being able to be held accountable by ratepayers for their promotion and endorsement of public nudity on our beaches.

False Media Statement 3.

"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."

There is nothing in the proposed 2008 bylaw that addresses the need for either public notification or consultation over this matter. The Council has no authority to rule on such matters if the proposed Draft Beach bylaw 2008 is passed into law. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The President of the Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc., Mr John Mills, of Paekakariki, strongly urges all Kapiti Coast residents who support the Society's submission set out below, to sign it as individuals, cut it out and send it to the Mayor, Ms Jenny Rowan and all Councillors ASAP - C/- P.O. Box 601, Paraparaumu 5254 (deadline for submissions is 24 October 2008).

SUBMISSION to Kapiti Mayor, Ms Jenny Rowan and all Councillors

I wish to notify you and your Council that I am strongly opposed to any attempt by the Council to provide any provision in its 2008 Beach Bylaw that might allow for, endorse or lead to any "clothing optional" zone being designated and approved on any of the Kapiti Coast Beaches. Instead I urge the Council to uphold and promote the rights of members of the public to enjoy the beach, foreshore and dunes without being confronted by those persons who intentionally engage in "indecent exposure" which is clearly defined in law under Section 27 of the Summary Offences Act 1981as involving the intentional exposure of "any part of his or her genitals".

S. 27 states: "(1) Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $2,000 who, in or within view of any public place, intentionally and obscenely exposes any part of his or her genitals. (2) It is a defence in a prosecution under this section if the defendant proves that he or she had reasonable grounds for believing that he or she would not be observed."

Nudists who may wish to openly expose their private parts to others can do so lawfully by joining a naturalist club which are crying out for new members, or confine their activities to their own private homes.

You have been reported as supporting nudity in public places on the Kapiti Coast beaches and are quoted as saying that under the proposed 2008 Bylaw:

"There will be no signage, they [nudists] will have free rein."

As much as you may wish themm to have "free reign" or believe they have such a "right", the absence of signs stating "clothing optional" does NOT give nudists a "free reign" to indulge in "indecent exposure" as you misleadingly suggest.

You added: "The beach is a place for the general public, as long as they are not being offensive they can be clothed or unclothed. The Human Rights Act supports anybody being there." (Dom Post 15/09/08).

I strongly oppose the public endorsement, albeit with some reservations, of "indecent exposure" as a legitimate option and a "human right" on the Kapiti Coast beaches when you know full-well that the deliberate and often provocative exposure of genitals in a public place is considered offensive and obscene behaviour by most people and can lead to prosecution.

Name _______________________________ Signed __________________ Date ___________ I live on the Kapiti Coast Yes/No. I am a KCDC ratepayer Yes/No


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