A daft bylaw
I have made a submission to the Kapiti Coast District Council on the bylaw that will allow nudity on Kapiti beaches. I have nothing against nude sunbathers provided they do it quietly and out of public view. But this bylaw lets men and women of all shapes sizes and ages wander willy-nilly on packed sunny beaches.You can go nude, as long as you`re not lewd - but foreskins and sand are not all that compatible.
Lucyna at NZ Conservative recons the bylaw has something to do with the sexuality of the Mayor, Jenny Rowan, who is a lesbian. Both Rowan and her partner Jools Joslin were involved in a failed bid to take on the Crown in the High Court over their inability to marry, in the failed 1996 Quilter case. They subsequently got married in Canada and the case initiated the Civil Union Act.
The rationale for the bylaw was a court case Ceramalus v Police (High Court Auckland AP No.76/91), where a naked man was walking down a beach well known for naked sunbathing, and was seen by a group of teachers and children. One of the teachers told the principal who complained to the police. It went to court, the man, Nobilangelo Ceramalus was convicted and discharged but successfully appealed the conviction.
Ceramalus is currently a Waiheke Island community board member, and he blogs here.
The Judge said that most people would regard his conduct as inappropriate, unnecessary, and in bad taste, but not arouse feelings of anger, disgust, or outrage, and should not therefore have a criminal record because of it. Given that it was a nudist beach, many would see that as fair. So, merely being naked on a beach does not render a person liable to causing offence.
On a nudist beach, anyway.
But does that mean that a District Council should amend its bylaws to allow all and sundry to walk willy-nilly on beaches frequented by kids with their families? I would have thought that just because a person is not liable to cause offence by walking naked along a beach where it was not uncommon to see nude sunbathers, this does not follow that a bylaw needs to be amended so that it is entirely permissable that both men and women can be seen starkers in deliberate view of others at a sunny packed Kapiti Beach.
One of the things territorial authorities make bylaws for is to minimise the potential for offensive behaviour in a public place. This bylaw has the potential to do the opposite.
You can read the beach bylaw here, and make a submission by e-mail here. Submissions close 24 October.
Labels: local government