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July 11, 2011 | by  | in News | [ssba]

YouthLaw – The Environment

YouthLaw is a free national legal service for under 25s. Contact us for free on 0800 UTHLAW (884 529) or for help with almost any legal problem. Each issue, we answer your questions on a particular area of law. This issue: LOCAL ENVIRONMENT.

What’s law got to do with the local environment?

Environmentally, local issues like street lighting, water treatment and local roading have a big impact on our local quality of life. While local government has a perception of being somewhat irrelevant to many people, a number of local bylaws directly affect Wellingtonians, some more directly than national laws. Some can be broken without you even realising…

I can drink wherever I want, right?

As you probably know, Central Wellington is currently covered by a liquor ban. The ban applies to public places in a large portion of the City, including Wellington Central, Oriental Bay, Mount Victoria lookout, Aro Valley, Central Park, Mount Cook and Newtown. Lack of signage is no defence to a breach so you need to know where it applies—check out

A public place is anywhere that is open to or being used by the public—even if you are in a vehicle (having a sneaky few in a taxi or on the bus is therefore no way around the ban). If a bottle or container is not opened it may pass through a public place (for example, taking it from the liquor store), but if your vessel has been opened (even if it is resealed), you will be in breach of the liquor ban if you have it in a public place.

But I can still have a party at our place?

If there are complaints about the noise level, an enforcement officer may be able to confiscate your stereo—they only need to give one warning. A party which spills out of a house could mean arrests for offensive behaviour, disorderly conduct, or urinating in a public place, all of which could end the party pretty quickly.

I can skate wherever I want though?

Use of a skateboard, roller-skates or inline-skates in a public place is allowed, except in areas with signs stating otherwise. If you are caught in breach of this your skateboard can be confiscated and you may incur a $20 fine to recover it. If you are caught again it can cost you double that and if you are caught a third time your board can be confiscated for good. Furthermore, there are fines of up to $750 for skating in a way that puts other people’s safety at risk—so you may want to think twice before racing down a crowded street! You should also watch out for property—if you cause damage while skating and don’t report it you can be fined up to $5000.

What other crazy laws are there in Wellington?

Interestingly, there are no by-laws in Wellington restricting the age you can get a tattoo or a piercing (there’s no crime committed in Wellington if a five-year-old gets a tattoo—but in Auckland you have to be 18). However in most ways Wellington is similar to other cities with bylaws governing animals in the city, taxi parking, fire prevention and rubbish. If you want to know more check out, and call us if you need legal advice! *


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  1. Taron says:

    That’s a mold-breaker. Great thininkg!

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