Attack Out of Order

Sep 11, 2007

A misconceived attack on a Queenstown Lakes District Council bylaw aimed at saving lives, has been labelled inappropriate by QLDC chief executive Duncan Field.

Last week a Wanaka election candidate said the bylaw was a "bungle".

"Electioneering is no excuse for undermining a piece of legislation that has radically cleaned up the behaviour of boaties in our district. We're talking about a bylaw that ensures children wear lifejackets, that enough life jackets are carried for the number of people on board and that safety is observed at all times on boats," Mr Field said.

The council spent $23,000 on an extensive revision of the bylaw in 2003. That work was all completed and the bylaw was adopted, Mr Field said.

Unfortunately the council did not advertise the bylaw before enforcing it, although an education campaign was embarked on.

"The bylaw itself is robust and has now been advertised. There is no flaw with the bylaw or its intent. To infer otherwise is toying with the safety of our community," Mr Field said.

The council did not "bungle" anything. It acted on the advice it was given at the time by legal firm MacTodd.

In the meantime, the council took several prosecutions, which could not be upheld due to the notification oversight.

Although withdrawn, the prosecutions attracted a high profile, which in turn amounted to getting the safety message through to water users.

"It cost $6,700 to take those prosecutions, a small price to pay for heightened public boat safety awareness," Mr Field said.

It should also be noted that the cost of withdrawing the prosecutions and putting things right was met by, MacTodd.

"No money has been wasted here. The community has a bylaw that will inevitably save lives," Mr Field said.


For further information please contact Duncan Field 03 441 0499.

By: Tamah