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This is an update to my earlier post Sitting on your roof is illegal.
The NZ Herald is reporting that Hamilton City Council will not be fining those property owners who let people go onto their roof and watch the Hamilton 400 car race. That’s good, but the situation still stinks. Why so?
1-> Sitting on your roof and watching a car race is still illegal. As I said in my earlier post, that’s a violation of property rights by the nanny state.
2-> The agents of the nanny state still intend to go around before future races and warn them that sitting on the roof is illegal. This is a form of coercion.
3-> Have a look at why the council issued the fines and why it plans to warn people in the future:
Hamilton Mayor Bob Simcock said yesterday that the council had sought legal advice and decided to cancel the fines.
He said staff had issued the notices because “it was unsafe use of the buildings for a purpose they weren’t designed for and that if we didn’t take action then we would be creating a liability for the council and the ratepayers”.
But lawyers told him yesterday that if the council clearly informed residents they were acting in an unsafe way, it would not then be liable if anyone was hurt while watching the event from a roof.
“If somebody fell off the roof and was killed and a government agency or the affected party’s family was looking for someone to take action against, to hold responsible, the advice we’ve had is that with having warned the property owner then we’ve shifted that obligation fully on to them and we’ve taken reasonable steps,” Mr Simcock said.
“If we’d done nothing, then we’d probably have some liability ourselves.”
So the council started a police action in order to cover it’s own butt. The world has gone stark raving bonkers when it is possible for the following sequence of events to occur:
- a city council does not warn people that standing on a roof and watching a car race is unsafe
- people, of their own free will and on their own property, climb onto roofs and watch a car race
- people are hurt after a fall or a roof collapse
- the council is held legally liable because it didn’t give warnings
What is the underlying assumption behind all this? The underlying assumption is that the city council is responsible for the safety of those who live in the city and that it has a duty to warn people when they are doing something unsafe. This is a nanny state notion: a parent is responsible for the safety of his child and has a duty to warn that child when he is doing something unsafe. Clearly the nanny state people think that the the city council has a parental role.
The state is not a parent and it should not attempt to adopt a parental role. Like everything else, climbing onto a roof and watching a car race is a matter of personal responsibility.
What do you think about the legal system that makes it possible for a city council to be liable because it didn’t warn people that standing on a roof was unsafe?