Kapiti bares its defiance on nudity
Overwhelming opposition to nudity on Kapiti Coast beaches has sparked a flood of submissions on the district council's draft beach bylaw.
Bernie Goedhart, Kapiti Coast District Council's group manager, said the council had received 369 written submissions.
Those included about 900 signatures on three petitions, most of which opposed nudity on the district's beaches.
About 22 submissions out of 200 sorted by staff related to horses, motorbikes and fires on beaches, while the remainder were related to nudity. One petition - with 13 signatures - supported nudity.
The matter sparked fierce debate after councillors decided not to include any reference to naked sunbathers in its draft bylaw.
"The councillors agreed that the bylaw was not the way to control nudity on local beaches - if nudists' behaviour was deemed offensive it would be dealt with by police," Mr Goedhart said. "Trying to address the concerns of the community will prove a challenge for councillors."
A 10-year-old Kapiti schoolboy started a petition last month against nudity on local family beaches after a "horrible" sighting of a man sunbathing naked on Paraparaumu Beach.
Michael Hayward presented his 144-signature petition to the council last month.
His mother called police when they spotted the nude sunbather, who was advised by police to get dressed. The man then left the beach.
Mr Goedhart said that, once all the submissions had been sorted, the council would hear oral submissions, after which it would decide on the final bylaw.
Meanwhile, nudity on beaches in other parts of New Zealand is riding a wave of popularity, a poll suggests.
In the Research New Zealand poll, 500 people were asked if nudity should be allowed on beaches. More than half would let sunbathers and swimmers go naked, with young men most in favour of stripping off.
Of those polled, 28 per cent supported nudity on beaches and that figure rose to 54 per cent when combined with those who would allow it on designated beaches. Fewer than half opposed it entirely.
The Dominion Post