Nudity as a Human Right

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY The Kapiti Coast District Council in New Zealand is being forced to further explain its position on beach nudity after a flood of angry emails crashed its system.
Council chief executive Pat Dougherty said there was a lot of concern in the community and he wanted to stress that the council was not promoting nudity in its draft beach bylaw. Any offensive or lewd behaviour would be dealt with by police. In an effort to allay public concern it has taken out an advertisement in a local newspaper explaining its position.

Mr Dougherty said the bylaw had not been passed. Submissions on it close on October 24.

When the council's regulatory and management committee approved the draft bylaw earlier this month, Mayor Jenny Rowan said she supported the council's stance, saying the beach was a place for the general public, in accordance with the Human Rights Act, unless they were being offensive. She later explained that the draft bylaw was about more than nudity.

The council did not endorse nudity on its beaches without any reservations, she said. "Bylaws against nakedness are vulnerable in that they breach the Bill of Rights Act. Recent case law says that merely being naked does not make a person liable to causing an offence."
And they should stick to this basic principle. Laws prohibiting nude sunbathing and swimming go against nature. The mere sight of a nude human body has never caused anyone any harm. Prudes always express concern about "the children", but the opposite is true: children are natural nudists, willing to toss off their clothes at the drop of a hat, and they are unaffected by the sight of other nude bodies.

When the council recognizes that bylaws against simple nudity breach the Bill of Rights Act, they truly act as representatives of all the people.

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