Kiwi Polemicist

July 11, 2009

• Update: sitting on your roof is illegal

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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:

  1. a city council does not warn people that standing on a roof and watching a car race is unsafe
  2. people, of their own free will and on their own property, climb onto roofs and watch a car race
  3. people are hurt after a fall or a roof collapse
  4. 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?



July 10, 2009

• Sitting on your roof is illegal

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

Stuff is reporting that property owners have been fined $1500 for allowing people to sit on their roof and watch car races. According to Stuff

The infringement notice cited a clause of the Building Act that refers to using or permitting the “use of a building for a use for which it is not safe”.

The Hamilton City Council’s building safety manager says

..he and his staff went to great lengths before the V8s [car races] to warn people what they could and couldn’t do under the Building Act.


“Our role is the health and safety of people [in the opinion of the nanny state] and we take that quite seriously. We gave everyone the information, but there were people who didn’t listen.”


…council staff spotted the alleged infringements during the racing and even took photographic evidence.


“These set-ups put people at risk, we don’t have much choice. It’s rather good luck than good judgment that something didn’t happen.

“Someone could have easily fallen from one of those roofs.”

Yes, someone could have easily fallen from a roof. So what? They chose to go onto the roof, and they chose to take the risk of falling: some would say that if a person fell and died due to a lack of precautions then it’s a case of natural selection 🙂 .

Personal choice and risk-taking is a terrible thing in the eyes of the Nanny State, which, like a parent dealing with a child, tells everyone “That’s too dangerous, you’re not allowed to do that”. So the council staff – agents of the nanny state – go around before the race telling people what it is permissible to do on and with their private property, then during the race they take photos to use as evidence when they punish the naughty children.

In summary, the state controls your bodily movements on your private property in order to protect you from harm. That’s a violation of personal and property rights, and only an immoral and totalitarian nanny state government would do such a thing.

What do you think about laws that prevent you from sitting on your roof and enjoying the view?

Click here for an update to this post.

Click here for a biblical perspective on this situation.


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