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Background Statutes Statistics Double Standards

Click on a link below to view statistics for a particular area:

New Zealand
Waitakere City

Statistics on Preschool drownings in private pools in
New Zealand

The fact sheet provided by Water Safety New Zealand claims that between 1/1/1987 
and 31/12/2003 there have been 82 pre-schoolers drown in home pools and spa pools
in New Zealand.
Of these 82 drownings
" 11 were in pools that did comply with the Act
" 71 were in pools that were not fenced or did not comply with the Act at the time of 
Drowning statistics are recorded in Drown Base which is New Zealand's only drowning
It is owned and maintained by Water Safety New Zealand. The database began in 1980.
At the meeting hosted by WaterSafe Auckland on 6th May 2004 I commented that there
were statistics and damned lies!
On 13/4/04 Wayne Thompson of the NZ Herald said Alan Muir of Water Safety, New
Zealand had said half of an estimated 58 000 private pools in the country are not properly
fenced and each year about six children under 5 drown in them.
The minutes from the meeting on 6th May 2004 illustrate my point. Statistics were provided
claiming 40 drownings in private pools over 10 years. Yet Teresa Stanley asserted "The
average number of children who die in pools each year for the past ten years is about 6
preschoolers according to WSNZ statistics" and went on to say "we need to make the 
legislation and its interpretation consistent." With such a rudimentary lack of skills in basic
arithmetic being displayed by people wanting law changes and more punitive measures 
against pool owners (to me a 50% miscalculation is diabolical), I, as a pool owner, must 
seriously question the validity of the interpretation of previous data.
Bob Harvey has gone on record as saying Waitakere City has maintained a safety record 
second to none over the last ten years but when I wrote to Denis Sheard , Legal Services 
Manager, I was informed "No statistical records appear to be kept." How do you get a 
second to none record with no records???
Let's have a look at some Swimming Pool Statistics for Waitakere City in recent times:
The heavy-handed campaign started in 2002 and is still continuing now despite an impending
court decision. In a very recent case I am aware of someone with a spa pool on an 
enclosed deck on a second storey with the only access being from a lounge with access 
doors bolted at the top, who has been told to put a fence on the deck!!!!  
Whenever is commonsense going to kick in?

Waitakere City Statistics

                                Number of Prosecution             Number of Drownings
                                     Notices Issued                      in Private Pools (0-5)

2002                                   297                                                 0
2003                                   144                                                 0
2004 (first half)                   113                                                 0

The Pool Police would no doubt like to claim that the fact that there have been no 
drownings in the last two and a half years is affirmation of their policy. However it 
could also be interpreted that the apparent perceived danger does not exist!!!!
There have been 105 convictions entered since May 2002 in Waitakere City.
Are those people really petty criminals or is it high time the statistics were much 
more open to public scrutiny?
According to statistics from Alan Muir of Water Safety NZ there has been only one 
pre-school drowning in a private spa or swimming pool in Waitakere City over the 
last 6 years. That was when an eight year old was supervising a 2 year old. It was 
not caused by inadequate pool fencing.
Until 19/6/04 the PoolSafe website incorrectly advertised an average of 6 drownings
of pre-schoolers in NZ private pools every year. When I approached Alan Muir his 
initial reaction was that I was being pedantic but at my insistence he amended the figure 
to four. On 2 June 2004 Waitakere City Council placed an advertisement in the 
Aucklander claiming 6 drownings per year. I challenged that figure and Denis Sheard's 
response was "Council does not think it makes any difference whether the number is 
"around four" or "around six". He went on further to say on 29 June "As recently as 
16 June I saw a draft communication from that body which contained a statement that 
there was on (sic) average of "six to seven" pre school deaths from drowning in 
domestic swimming pools."
I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority on 4 June, which advised me 
some 9 weeks later that my complaint was not upheld and "the social good imparted 
by the message overrode the inaccuracy of the figures." I appealed the decision on 
6 August, the day I received it. On 12 August I emailed Heather McKenzie asking 
for a possible time-frame for the appeal. On 1st September I received a DECISION
dated 12 August saying "The chairman was of the view that it did not present any 
new evidence" and the application for appeal was not accepted.

For further information: Contact Gary Osborne
POAG (Pool Owners Action Group)
ph 834 4513
025 443 010