There’s been lots of huffing and puffing in the aftermath of 3 News delving into the Government decision not to make it compulsory to wear life-jackets on all small water craft.
It seems Transport Minister Steven Joyce backed off the idea just a week before it was to be signed off.
The reversal was made despite official advice saying the change could help prevent 10 deaths a year.
Now one maritime expert says the Government must take some responsibility for unnecessary deaths.
The TV3 report went on to say boaties continue to head out on to the Waitemata Harbour without wearing a lifejacket.
It further explained they don’t have to wear them – it’s only compulsory to carry them.
We may suppose that those who are sensible and give some importance to their self-preservation will choose to wear them.
If this be so, we may suppose those who are not sensible and give no importance to their self-preservation won’t wear them.
Some of these will pay heavily for their failure or their negligence or whatever you want to call it and will drown.
And whose fault will that be?
Oh – it will be the Government’s fault.
It will have facilitated their deaths, according to the ludicrous logic of the harpies.
“If we keep allowing people to drown themselves, unless we make a rule change and start affecting some compliance on it, we’re going to continue to see more deaths,” says editor of Professional Skipper Magazine Keith Ingram.
The TV3 piece cited documents that showed officials were pushing for compulsory lifejackets back in 2010, saying “the rule change will contribute to preventing 10 recreational boating fatalities per year”.
And so a new rule was drawn up.
The rule change was black and white, and would have made it compulsory for life jackets to be worn on all boats under 6m, where most drownings occur.
But a week before it was to go before Cabinet an email popped up saying the then-Transport Minister Steven Joyce “has requested that the proposed Cabinet paper be withdrawn from next week’s agenda”.
It went on to say “it looks unlikely that the minister will make any rules requiring the default wearing of PFDs, or lifejackets, at least in the near term”.
According to Labour Transport spokesman Phil Twyford, this means 10 or 20 lives since then have not been saved.
But the minister responsible for maritime safety doesn’t accept that, saying the analysis was based on old figures.
“In the absence of good evidence that compulsory wearing of lifejackets will make a safety difference, I don’t think that New Zealanders will thank me for over-regulating in this area,” says Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
Even if wearing the safety gear was compulsory, there could be no guarantee boaties would comply.
What are we going to do about that?
Hire an army of marine cops to enforce the law 24/7?
Alf notes that Robert Guyton – a feller for whom he has a sneaking regard – is among those wailing about what has happened.
This is getting ludicrous now. National’s flip-flopping was at first, ridiculous but it’s fast becoming dangerous. No requirement to wear life jackets?
What’s stupid is not wearing the jackets.
Do we really have to regulate to preserve the lives of a few stupid people?