New bill will protect public spaces and rights of citizens
National MP Jonathan Young’s bill strengthening the ability of local councils and authorities to more effectively manage live-in occupations on land administered by the council has been drawn from the ballot in Parliament today.
“This Local Government (Freedom of Access) Amendment Bill seeks to better balance the rights of councils to protect their property from being interfered with, and ensure communities have freedom of access to land councils are responsible for administering,” New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young says.
“The bill will clarify the law to ensure those who obstruct council officers from performing their duties, or who fail to give true and sufficiently particular details when required, are liable to be arrested without a warrant by police. It also widens the scope in which an enforcement officer may remove and seize property.
“This bill does not infringe on the right to peacefully protest.
“It ensures the rights of members of the public to express their opinions in the form of protests and demonstrations on such land, but enables councils to prevent protests from becoming live-in occupations where tents and structures impede use of the land by other citizens, and cause property damage and health hazards.”