The Government is planning to repeal the Swimming Pool Fencing Act of 1987, which is a comprehensive act that has saved the lives of at least 21 children since its introduction. The amendment to the act, which has been put forward to Parliament by the Minister for Building and Housing Nick Smith, says that it is “aimed at reducing the compliance burden imposed on pool owners” in relation to residential pools while maintaining child safety.
The amendment seeks to save $17m over 10 years by moving towards voluntary compliance, fewer inspections and removing the requirement to fence spas or hot tubs. However Water Safety New Zealand and SafeKids Aotearoa are furious at the proposition as they exclaim that the changes will cost lives. Matt Claridge from Water Safety NZ added the bill was “ambiguous, vague and poor”. His response coming after the changes will allow pool owners to interpret the act in a variety of different ways.
Current rules under Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987
• 1.2m fence on four sides
• Self-latching gate
• Spas and hot pools require fencing
• Three-yearly inspections
• Has reduced deaths from 10 each year to three.
Proposed: Part of the Building Act
• Barriers will be “performance based”
• Five-yearly inspections
• No fencing required for spas and hot pools