Auckland Council charges for pool inspections

January 26th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

aklpools

 

A reader has sent this in to me. They note:

Just got a letter today that informs me that the will now inspect my pool fencing every three years to make sure it is still there and charge me for the privilege. Revenue generating at its best.

Original inspection received sign-off. It cost a fortune to put in a steel fence. Current charge for initial inspection is $75 – I am OK with that and foolishly thought that was the end of it.

Now it will be inspected every three years at a higher cost of $125 per inspection. For now.

My points are:

  • Why follow up inspections? It is a metal fence set in concrete – we are hardly likely to lift it out of the ground
  • Why more expensive since it is just (supposedly) reaffirming it is still there so technically they could look from the top of our drive and view it rather than inspect it
  • Why can’t we just send in a photo showing it is still there – saves them a trip and us a lot of money

This is revenue generating pure and simple. It is a loose interpretation of Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 section 10 (Every territorial authority shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that this Act is complied with within its district.)Exploitation of vague legislation seen as a revenue opportunity.

Since Len(it’s all about me) came in our rates have increased and services decreased as well as additional charges sneaking into the mix. This is snowballing and there seems to be no vehicle to challenge other than talk to a child at the call centre who sounded very sweet but “that picnic may be short of a sandwich” if you know what I mean. She struggled to know what to say and failed to find me anyone to talk to. Any suggestions for recourse?

The $75 initial charge does seem okay, but checking every three years the fence set in concrete is still there seems indeed just revenue generating – especially as they will cost more than the original check.

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58 Responses to “Auckland Council charges for pool inspections”

  1. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    I thought all this nonsense was going to stop. There are moves to stop them charges like wounded bulls for RMA compliance so they find another outlet for their wounded bulls mentality. Dumb.

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  2. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    Kid’s lives. Quit your moaning and get on with it.

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  3. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    Since Len(it’s all about me) came in our rates have increased and services decreased as well as additional charges sneaking into the mix.

    Since Rodney created the Super City…

    Seriously, where’s the difference? You think he sits there individually contemplating and plotting out your rates bill whilst he’s busy in the Ngati Whatua room?

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  4. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Ha, when our kids were young we had the only pool for miles. No fences and in the summer we would come home to up to 20 kids enjoying themselves. They had a few rules and the older ones looked after the little ones. No dramas.
    In came the regs and out went the pool. Fuck the councils and essentially the neighbours kids. Down to the beach in the tidal estuary if you want a swim. (200Mtres away as it happens.)
    Result most of them stopped swimming.

    Topical give the early post I did about school play grounds and which DPF has posted.

    Is it any wonder we have people wasting their lives in car crashes and causing havoc at parties, being sent down for 6 years for rape when they don’t know how to play nicely together and resort to booze and parties without the the respect learned in proper playground rough and tumble.

    Maybe that is why our kids and Grandkids have grown up to be nice citizens!
    Its all about getting put in your place and learning respect for others.

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  5. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Typical of an envy tax by left-wing bureaucrats.

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  6. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    No worse than requiring dogs to be registered. A hangover form hydatid dosing days.
    Should have been canned years ago.

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  7. metcalph (1,426 comments) says:

    I seem to recall there’s a consitutional presumption that if a charge (by a council, ministry, whatever) is above cost then it becomes revenue-gathering. As such, it is unlawful if the authority to do so has not been explicitly delegated by Parliament. Given the sum of money involved, the best avenue for redress is the Ombudsman.

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  8. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    What do they charge those responsible, when Animal Control call to sort out unregistered, dangerous, and roaming dogs in South Auckland? Oh, they are Len’s voting base!

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  9. thePeoplesFlag (242 comments) says:

    ACT-aligned local ginger groups of do nothing pensioners with to much time on their hands campaign against any headline rate rises at all, so mayoral candidate have to commit to not raising actual rates. An authoritarian right wing central government with a bureaucracy that is petrified of Auckland won’t let the super-city have any revenue from any other source like petrol tax.

    So where do you think the council will raise revenue from? Well, from anywhere it can – including this method. The super-city is effectively more like an Australian state that an old fashioned NZ council, but it can’t raise state taxes like NSW or Queensland can because of all the fear and loathing amongst the little Hitlers in Wellington.

    Blame Rodney Hide. He is the imbecile who created the current super-city mess.

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  10. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    The $75 fee is not ok…in order to put in a pool that would require fencing of this level you need a permit and a resource consent…and the fees on those are horrendous. This is just another tax grab invented by bureaucrats intent on picking the pockets of citizens in order to build their ivory towers.

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  11. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    You make no sense at all thePeoplesFlag. If a mayoral candidate has the integrity to lead the city, they want promise things they can’t deliver just to get votes. Oh yes, that’s the definition of a Green candidate.

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  12. Concerned (41 comments) says:

    I think the ‘second visit’ might mean a follow-up visit in that same round to verify that a discrepancy (such as a malfunctioning gate latch) has been rectified.

    The inspection visits cover much more than simple presence of the original fence. If people are not yet familiar with the inspection regime they have a rude awakening awaiting them. It is one of the most ridiculous exercises in diminishing returns ever visited upon the public. Now we will be asked to pay for this reasonable-sounding but in practice terribly misguided nanny business.

    Maurice Williamson has a lot to answer for for not de-fanging this rabid mongrel of a ‘public safety’ initiative. The Auckland Council apparatchiks will prove the point.

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  13. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    Has anyone noticed that the kid reaching for the ball in the pool is INSIDE A FUCKING FENCE!

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  14. dime (9,796 comments) says:

    These fuckers also come into your house to check that you smoke alarms!

    What on earth has that got to do with a swimming pool?

    The council legislating to enter your house.. Get fucked

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  15. Harriet (4,794 comments) says:

    “….The $75 initial charge does seem okay, but checking every three years the fence set in concrete is still there seems indeed just revenue generating – especially as they will cost more than the original check….”

    I think here in QLD the government made it manditory a few months back, and it is slightly more expensive $135 from memory, and I think an inspection every two years. Although I could be wrong.

    Pool laws have been in place for a long time but it was up to local councils to check if they wanted to. Now it seems compulsary.[ I think this came in on the back of a police officers child drowning, as he was pushing for laws a year or so ago .]

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  16. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    Has anyone noticed that the kid reaching for the ball in the pool is INSIDE A FUCKING FENCE!

    That’s their point Mr Sleeze. It is important that your fence meet standards -at all times- otherwise something like that happens despite you proclaiming “oh but I’ve got a fence”

    Again, risk = Kid’s lives. Why stuff around, kicking dirt with your hands in your pockets going “oh but I don’t want to pay for this, it’s not fair, blah blah blah”. Would you prefer that the neighbour’s kid drowned in your pool so you can -see- the value of the money you are paying for increased inspections?

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  17. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Pretty much all – Think of the Children !!! – law is crap.

    People are naturally protective of their kids. No law is required. It is none of the states business.

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  18. Harriet (4,794 comments) says:

    “….These fuckers also come into your house to check that you smoke alarms!…”

    In NSW the fire brigade will put your alarm in free if you are old age ect.

    I don’t mind too much if firemen – or even better fire women- have to do the check every couple of years – but not some council fuckwit.

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  19. flipper (3,950 comments) says:

    When the House resumes next week this should be shoved under M Williamson’s and Nicky Smith’s noses.

    The whole fencing fee issue is Council BS, given that the owners will have previously paid for a permit,

    I would like to see them get judgment in The Disputes Tribunal. They should tell the Councils to shove it – until they fence all those beaches, fountains, rivers, creeks, lakes and ponds.

    No matter that a fee is apparently possible (not a requirement), it is absolute extortion by ACC. The fee is not proportionate to any costs. Those people are already employed. The only additional cost MIGHT be vehicle running.

    Whale is spot on.

    Other Councils will not be slow to follow….. but I am sure rural ward Councillors will “strenuously” oppose (think of all those farm ponds that will bring in the dollars :-)

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  20. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    The subject of the topic is upset. How upset will he/she be when they find that the inspector comes up the road and does six ‘subsequent’ visits on one outing so taking $750 out of the street?

    itstricky “Kid’s lives. Quit your moaning and get on with it.” I don’t moan about having to fence our pool, kids lives and all that. Any way if kids want to come into our remote area when we’re not here to supervise them they’ll use the creek or the troughs (unfenced) to cool down.

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  21. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    The $75 initial charge does seem okay

    It does? It seems outrageous in my opinion, because it is double dipping. Auckland ratepayers already get extorted on a quarterly basis. Rates are going up at multiple times the cost of inflation in some areas at a time when core council services are being cut, and now we are getting “user pays” levies on more core council services.

    What next? IRD charging a levy of $5,000 on each taxpayer they decide to audit?

    But I guess if the man in charge is cheating on his wife on the ratepayer’s dime whilst getting undeclared backhanders from large corporates, and uses the council credit card to buy personal groceries and home theatre systems, do we really expect a financially responsible culture to trickle down?

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  22. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    I have a bird-bath – just think of the young sparrows. So the SPCA will be coming around to check

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  23. tvb (4,326 comments) says:

    They create regulations and rules which no one wants and then to add insult to injury they charge an inspection fee to pay for the damn staff they employed. Regulation is expensive and great for employment opportunities for drones.

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  24. flipper (3,950 comments) says:

    My suggestion is that everyone write to Maurice Williamson and to Nicky Smith….. copy to J Key.
    No postage required.

    Enough letters may cause them to tweak the Councils in the crotch.

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  25. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    If it’s just to check the fence is still there, just freakin use Google Earth. It’s updated at least every 3 years and you can easily make out fencing on it.

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  26. metcalph (1,426 comments) says:

    So where do you think the council will raise revenue from?

    The council (like any other body created under statute) does not have the lawful ability to raise revenue in any manner that it sees fit. It can only raise revenue through its rates (or anything else explicitly provided for by statute – like say a toll road). For any other activity, it can only charge money in order to recover the cost of performing a specified activity.

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  27. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    FFS I could write the council an algorithm that they could run using their very expensive Geographical Information Systems package that would check the satellite images for changes in assigned properties. It could survey every pool on Auckland in under 3 hours and flag those for further follow up.

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  28. edhunter (535 comments) says:

    I read this as every 3yrs you’re charged $75.00 for a fence inspection. The $125 charge only happens if you’re non-compliant & a 2nd visit is required once the issues have been rectified.
    Now in the grand scheme of things & within the annual costs of owning and maintaining pool $25.00 p/a doesn’t seem a big deal to me.

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  29. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    That’s their point Mr Sleeze. It is important that your fence meet standards -at all times- otherwise something like that happens despite you proclaiming “oh but I’ve got a fence”

    Oh, so you’re claiming that the photo shows a fenced pool, but one which is no longer up to requisite standard and which is putting the child at risk?

    Well that’s obvious…

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  30. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    Of course it is obvious.

    Of course I can’t tell from “looking” the ad. But use a bit of common sense and what they call “intuition”. Read the text of the ad.

    Or are you otherwise just too busy complaining?

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  31. mara (763 comments) says:

    My 86 year old neighbour has a pool and she taught her 6 children to swim in it, is still enjoying her grand-children and great-grandchildren playing in it. It has always been fenced and is behind 3 gates in total. Now Council inspectors are insisting that the fence is 6cm too low, she must remove large trees from one fence line and is charging her $75 MONTHLY for random inspections until she complies .The stress of this, plus the monstrous rise in her rates is affecting her health. So much for our super city.

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  32. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Kid’s lives. Quit your moaning and get on with it.

    itstricky, keep your snotty overindulged little brats out of my yard or I will set the dogs on them.

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  33. jakejakejake (134 comments) says:

    Someone has to pay for the free/cheap council pools…

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  34. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Get used to these Auckland. Lascivious Len has got a train set to pay for (not to mention his own hotel rooms now), so you can expect more new, or increased charges galore.

    Perhaps he might determine that there should be a charge for your annual rates assessments? After all, surely you receive value from having an assessment made on your behalf to ensure that you are paying only your share of the overall rates burden.

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  35. Concerned (41 comments) says:

    “Now Council inspectors are insisting that the fence is 6cm too low, she must remove large trees from one fence line.”

    Mara: This is not atypical. Many ridiculous and illogical examples exist.

    Link for further background:

    http://nzpoag.blogspot.co.nz/p/need-for-change.html

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  36. dubya (228 comments) says:

    I’ve always supported a Darwinist approach to pool fencing. I don’t plan to have children, and pool fences are ugly. If I wanted to swim in a cage, I’d go on one of those shark-watching tours.

    Before you start about the neighbour’s kids – what the fuck are they doing on my property in the first place?

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  37. OneTrack (2,981 comments) says:

    “Blame Rodney Hide. He is the imbecile who created the current super-city mess.”

    I dont. I blame socialist Len and his cabal of fellow travellers who think there is no such thing as a bad tax or too much regulation. Expect more it next year with the emergence of the Green taniwha and their subservient coalition partner, Labour.

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  38. peterwn (3,239 comments) says:

    Why not introduce mandatory three yearly house inspections at a fee of 0.1% RV. Will pick up things such as shonky wiring, loose rugs, leaking taps, lack of smoke detectors and handrails, etc, etc. Will prevent more deaths per household than pool fence inspections.

    Anyway, if Mayor Brown succeeds with free pool admissions, who needs private pools anyway. The latest status symbol will be filled in pools.

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  39. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    More blatant revenuing

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  40. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘Expect more it next year with the emergence of the Green taniwha and their subservient coalition partner, Labour.’

    I don’t think so any more.

    The economy is being rigged to support National so Key can sign the TPP.

    The future is TPP and nothing else. Most of the TPP is state surveillance. The NSA has been spying on us for years it has been revealed.

    The TPP is absolute proof of conspiracy not to mention the banking sector and GCSB.

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  41. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘If I wanted to swim in a cage, I’d go on one of those shark-watching tours.’

    The current debate is about fencing off driveways. Councils will jump onto it with glee to add more revenuing and resource consent costs.

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  42. gump (1,620 comments) says:

    It’s amazing how bad the reading comprehension is on this blog.

    The initial visit is $75. If the fence is not-compliant then the follow-up visit is $125. So a compliant fence only costs the owner $75 every three years.

    If you want to have a private swimming pool in Auckland then $25 per year seems to be an entirely reasonable fee (given that mandatory pool fencing has provably lowered child mortality in NZ).

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  43. Manolo (13,518 comments) says:

    Rapacious as rapacious can be! Thieves and bandits in action.

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  44. somewhatthoughtful (462 comments) says:

    This is somewhat sensible, but they should have an efficiency option where certain types of fences only have to be certified every 7-10 years if they meet given standards.

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  45. deadrightkev (425 comments) says:

    I am deliberately moving out of the Auckland area to avoid the Super City. I will be on tank water and getting off the grid. I will not have a pool and I will not have a letter box either.

    Thanks Rodney

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  46. jawnbc (76 comments) says:

    Isn’t subsequent referring to those who aren’t compliant on the first inspection? In other words, if you waste our time we will come back and it’ll cost you even more. A deterrent to eejits, in other words.

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  47. duggledog (1,505 comments) says:

    It’s because Auckland Council is up to its neck in debt, to the tune of around $4,000 per rate payer.

    Courtesy (mainly) of good old Helen Clark’s Local Government Act, which allowed Councils to pretty much do whatever they liked

    Expect more of your money to be extracted by stealth.

    On the up side, making Auckland more expensive will simply force the low income bogan shit heads out. That’s a win surely

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  48. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    On the up side, making Auckland more expensive will simply force the low income bogan shit heads out.

    duggledog, yeah then maybe the rest of the country can have that fuel tax removed, to fund Auckland transport, and we can stop shovelling millions of dollars of other peoples money into Auckland to buy votes.

    All those rich people should be able to afford it without using the money from the displaced bogans to subsidise them.

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  49. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    I don’t see any fence or any regulation to seperate the beachgoers from the ocean at Takapuna Beach.
    Len Brown and the Council can get fucked – money grabbing, sniveling socialists

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  50. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    It’s amazing how bad the reading comprehension is on this blog.

    They don’t read gump. They just want an excuse to rave about personal responsibility, cost and how the word isn’t fair on them la la la la. And consequently you get 24 down votes for $75 over three years. Are they all Scottish?

    Same old story with every post. Yeah, good one Kea. I’m sure you’d sleep easy dreaming of how it was the “personal responsbility” of the neighbours to teach their brats to swim and not your fault in any way – never batting an eyelid, happy as larry etc etc

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  51. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    itstricky, yeah you got it. But they are unlikely to get past the attack dogs so it is all a bit academic anyway.

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  52. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    gump “… (given that mandatory pool fencing has provably lowered child mortality in NZ).”

    I’ve just been out to congratulate our pool fence for its part on lowering child mortality in NZ. Silly me, I thought kids hadn’t died in our pool was because every time little kids have been here they have been looked after.

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  53. jcuk (665 comments) says:

    Simple answer … fill in the pool.

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  54. anticorruptionnz (212 comments) says:

    Auckland council have no right to do pool inspections at will. there act is specific they inspect initially and then only when they have reason to believe the pool no longer complies.

    I believe that the pool committee has a gentleman on it who has a company which does pool fencing and another who has window latches .. bit of a self promotion exercise and that’s is why the rules keep changing.. drives business.

    when ever they come to inspect I refuse until they advise me why my pool no longer complies and ask them which act and section they are basing their right to inspect on

    last year I was stung with a pool inspection fee because my neighbour over the back had tacked a trellis on to he fence. since I don’t have xray eyes and don’t go d\snooping round my neighbours property I was unaware of this.

    Its not about kids lives if it was about kids lives we would be fencing drive ways its about $$$$$$$$$ and being proactive about kid suicides. shit happens kids drown in bucket .. parental supervision is always the key and a fenced pool is a fenced pool we don’t have to take it ridiculous levels for the off chance that a sky diving toddler lands in your pool.

    council having been refused entry to my property had to snoop next door.

    having raised three kids on a yacht I think that I don’t need to be inspected and charged illegally.

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  55. gump (1,620 comments) says:

    @doggone7

    “I’ve just been out to congratulate our pool fence for its part on lowering child mortality in NZ. Silly me, I thought kids hadn’t died in our pool was because every time little kids have been here they have been looked after.”

    ————————–

    Your pool fence keeps your pool safe when you are not there.

    So I’m pleased you went out and congratulated your pool fence. It has been doing its job.

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  56. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    But gump he’s not thinking about anyone else’s kids ’cause it’s not his responsibility. You know that. I mean, jees if they can’t swim that’s not his fault is it? And he knows where his kids are every second (I mean who would ever feel that ping of terror when they realise they don’t know where the kids are – morons, right?)

    It’s funny, I always thought the ‘personal responsibilty’ brigade would lead to willful construction of even bigger fences (the steel and concrete type that no one can scale) rather than complaints about paying for holes in little piddly paddling pool ones.

    I guess attack dogs will do for now.

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  57. RRM (9,784 comments) says:

    Why stop as swimming pool fences?

    Why not re-inspect all houses for code compliance every 3 years?

    That’d be a nice little money spinner.

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  58. Zebulon (84 comments) says:

    We have a large paddling portable paddling pool that the Council makes us hire temporary fencing for every summer. But we also live right by the sea, and, guess what, that’s not fenced. But I musn’t begrudge them this revenue grabbing exercise. I mean, poor Len, he needs all the money he can get to pay for his spin doctors and security. Good to know that the money’s being put to good use.

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