Published 1 April 2008
Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones said at the weekend the swimming pool laws are to be reviewed for the first time since they came into effect 20 years ago.
He said it appeared proper fencing could still prevent some deaths: “Hence the need to look at whether changes to the act would improve compliance & enforcement.”
Consultation opened on 31 March and will close on Monday 30 June.
Mr Jones said the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 was excellent legislation and the number of children drowned in pools since then had dropped by two-thirds: “In the 7 years before the act took effect 81 children drowned in these pools, an average of 11.5/year. The average in the past 7 years has been 4. Water Safety NZ figures show that, since 1980, 193 children have drowned in swimming pools, 162 (84% of them) in private pools.”
Over the past decade the number of private pools had increased by an estimated 30%, from 55,600 to 73,700.
The minister said the submissions & further research would enable the Department of Building & Housing to develop proposals for changes to the act. The department would then issue a second consultation paper to test the workability of the proposals.
“We want to see what has been learned since the act was introduced, to make sure it operates as effectively as possible and that it allows flexibility to reflect modern house design, which often incorporates easy indoor/outdoor access.”
The evaluation will also seek to:
· further restrict the access of young children to swimming pools under both the act and the Building Code
· make councils’ interpretation & application of the act more uniform
· give pool owners & councils more certainty about their responsibilities & obligations under the act, and
· increase public awareness of pool owners’ responsibilities under the act.
Website: Fencing of pools consultation
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Attribution: Government release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.