Water Crowd Control

  • Maurice Williamson

"Another step towards making sure that we have a safe and successful America's Cup Regatta" is how Transport Minister Maurice Williamson described the new measures in the Maritime Transport Amendment Act (No. 3) 1998.

"The America's Cup Regatta is expected to create intense pressure on water crowd control. Thousands of small craft will be watching the races and we must be able to take fast effective safety action.

"Managing two to three thousand craft vying for the best vantage position during the race will require robust powers that go beyond the usual controls that are adequate for most maritime events", the Minister said.

The Act enables these powers to be exercised by public notice for a specific event.

While the notice is in place, enforcement officers can prohibit boats and people from entering a designated area, remove them from the area, or stop and detain craft in the area. Breach of these restrictions could result in an infringement notice being issued on the spot.

"I want to make it absolutely clear that the powers under the provisions of the Act are intended only for major events. The Act contains safeguards to avoid their unwarranted use" Mr Williamson said,

"For example, in the America's Cup case, the Auckland Regional Council which is the controlling authority for water in the proposed race area, will apply to have parts of the Hauraki Gulf designated as areas to which the new measures apply.

"I will need to be satisfied that the request is reasonable and appropriate. If it is, I will publish my intention to issue a notice, along with the appropriate terms and conditions. That notice will also specify the period during which written representations about the proposal can be made."

"My understanding is that the Auckland Regional Council consider the Viaduct Basin, the race areas, and possibly the transit area from the Viaduct Basin to race waters as areas for which designation is likely to be sought" Mr Williamson said.