Beach nudity ‘too much for kids’

The Dominion Post 16 September 2008

Kapiti Coast District Council has come under fire for considering allowing nudity on its beaches. The council regulatory management committee’s unanimous endorsement of a staff recommendation to allow nudity along the 45-kilometre coastline – unless nudists’ behaviour is deemed offensive or lewd – has brought strong criticism from a family-oriented lobby group and some residents.
…Family First has attacked the proposal, which has yet to go out for community consultation. “The protection of families and the welfare of children has been cast aside in favour of so-called freedom of expression,” national director Bob McCoskrie said. Families stayed clear of nude beaches for a good reason, he said. “They do not want their children being confronted by naked men and women. The rights of nudists to `hang loose’ should not be at the expense of families feeling embarrassed or offended. It is completely inappropriate for children to be confronted with naked adults walking past or sunbathing.”
Mayor Jenny Rowan stressed the proposal did not mean the council endorsed nudity on its beaches without any reservations. “It is clear from our legal advice that bylaws against nakedness are vulnerable in that they breach the Bill of Rights Act and recent case law says merely being naked does not make a person liable of causing an offence,” Ms Rowan said. “Lewd and offensive behaviour is a matter that is more appropriate for the police and they have the powers to act against it.”

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