Common sense on spa pools

September 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

People buying a spa will no longer need to worry about fencing it off under a law change.

A lockable cover will be sufficient protection under legislation that has passed its first reading today with cross-party support.

The Government has also backed away from lowering the depth at which pools need to be fenced after public backlash against the idea that paddling pools would be covered.

The new legislation will replace the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, which significantly cut the number of children aged up to four who drowned in home swimming pools.

Such drownings decreased from 100 in the ten-year period before the measures were introduced, to 30 in the 10 years to 2012.

However, the Government said the regulations were inconsistent and “often cumbersome”, and changes were needed.

These will include:
• No longer requiring spas and hot tubs to be fenced off if they have a lockable cover and meet certain specifications.
• Require councils across the country to carry out five-yearly inspections of swimming pools.
• Make infringement notices the preferred way to deal with pool owners who fail to comply, with court prosecutions only in serious breaches.


Good to see common sense winning the day here.

The current law allows spa owners in Auckland to apply for an exemption from fencing if their spa has a lockable cover – but that costs $455.

What a rort.

The law change is expected to improve safety, but also reduce compliance costs by $17 million, Mr Foss said.


Paddling pool nuttiness

November 28th, 2013 at 10:30 am by Jadis

The Herald reports that homeowners may be fined $500 for no fencing around paddling pools of a depth of 30cm or more.

As a parent I have a few questions about this interesting new development:

To meet the fencing requirements what is the cost to fence versus the cost of a paddling pool?  I bought a pool last week for $30.  It now requires a fence and a gate.  The fence will cost more than the pool.  Water is one of life’s cheapest toys.  We also run the risk of water shortages if people choose instead to empty the pool each time it is used – but I am guessing that unintended consequence was never assessed.

Why isn’t a full perimeter fence around a home enough?  Surely I get to decide which children get to come into my property.  They have parents too who can decide whether it is OK to come into my property.

What happened to personal and parental responsibility? I choose to supervise my children (and their friends) when they are in the pool.  Good parents and responsible adults do that – as do those who are responsible parents at the public swimming pool, the river or the beach.

Should we fence off the sea and our rivers and lakes too?

Of the six children who die each decade, how many die because of poor supervision? And how many die in paddling pools versus permanent pools, lakes, ponds, buckets etc?

Yes, it is important we keep our children safe but there needs to be a bit of reality in our policy making.  I don’t want children to die but I do believe we need balance in policy making.

There is another option – we could educate our own children on the dangers of water, teach them to swim and recognise that good parents generally supervise their children in all circumstances and assess the dangers of all situations?  What’s next?  All dishwashing powder must be in a special lock box because children can ingest and get very very ill?  I had better not give them too many ideas.

*Yep, another post by Jadis so don’t all freak out that DPF could be a parent.



Compulsory lifejackets for kids?

September 7th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga has introduced a member’s bill to Parliament that would make wearing a lifejacket compulsory for children up to 15 on boats 6 metres in length and under.

The proposal only relates to youngsters up to 15 but Mr Lotu-Iiga say he expects a select committee to examine whether it should be extended to all ages.

There are on average 17 recreational boating deaths a year.

I’m okay with it for kids, as they are more vulnerable, and well … kids. But far from convinced it should be extended to all adults. Having them on board yes – wearing at all times – no.


January 12th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Today’s Herald story is:

The Government is being urged to stump up the cash for surf lifesavers and Coastguard operations, as figures show New Zealand has the third highest drowning rate in the OECD.

Yesterday’s Herald story was:

New Zealand had its lowest drowning death toll in six years last year

Now the two stories are not contradictory but I find it puzzling that the stat on the lowest toll in the last six years wasn’t included in today’s story. It is clearly relevant to the story.

In terms of the international comparisons, I presume they are per capita. What would be interesting is if they could be calculated in terms of number of days spent doing water activities.

Having said all that, I’m not against more resources in this area. Our rate is much higher than Australia’s and they certainly spend as much time on the water as we do, if not more.

Thank God they saw sense

June 25th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Iain Lees-Galloway blogs at Red Alert:

National’s irrational fear of being tagged with the ‘Nanny State’ label they successfully over-hyped against Labour has just jumped the shark.

3 News reported tonight that optics man Steven Joyce pulled a last minute flip-flop on making life jackets compulsory on small boats.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges, sounding like he was on morphine, gave National’s reasoning as not wanting to over-regulate.

What the hell? We have tragedies like  this happening all the time because our laws are inadequate and wearing of life jackets is unenforceable.

Oh my God, I can’t believe that Labour wants to have water police motoring around and fining people for not having a life jacket on at all times.

Having life jackets on board at all times is essential. But making it compulsory to wear them at all times would  be a step too far.

I recall the last time I went out fishing. It was a beautiful day as we caught fish, cooked the fish and ate it. I also dived off the boat and swam around a bit before coming back on to dry off in the sun. Having to have a life jacket on at all times, would have seriously got in the way of fishing and sun bathing. As adults we made the decision that the boat was sturdy enough (close to the 6 metre limit for the proposed law) and the conditions calm enough that it would be ridiculous over-kill to be wearing life jackets. If I was in a two metre dinghy on a stormy choppy day, then I would wear one. It is called judging the conditions.

Yes it is sad when people die at sea. But going to sea always has an element of risk. Swimming at the beach is bloody risky also sometimes. I do not want to live in a society when the only goal of the Government is to eliminate risk, at the expense of choice and enjoyment.