Zero Tolerance on Beaches

Helping everyone to enjoy the sun, sea and surf

20 October 2010

Anyone thinking of breaching the beach road rules this summer should think again, as Police in the Horowhenua will be taking a zero tolerance approach to illegal activity.

“This is not about being killjoys,” said Constable Terry Hansen. “It is about making sure that visitors to the beach have a safe, enjoyable, family experience which isn’t spoiled by the minority who see the beach as their personal playground.”

Most reports of illegal and upsetting behaviour come from the community and the introduction of a full-time Coastal Liaison Officer for Hokio, Waikawa and Waitarere beaches has also been community-driven.

Constable Ian Hamblyn will fill that role for the summer while Constable Terry Hansen will manage Foxton and Senior Constable Chris Barclay will patrol Himatangi.

“We have had very positive feedback about police presence on the beach from those genuine visitors and residents who abide by the rules,” said Constable Hansen. “Those who act responsibly have nothing to fear from us.”

There are some rules that are regularly ignored or misunderstood. Motocross bikes for instance cannot be registered or warranted for use on the road; therefore they cannot be ridden on the beach, as the beach is classified as a road.

All ATVS, three and four-wheeled motorcycles must display a number plate and have a current registration.

Helmets are also compulsory for all two-wheeled motorcycles and quad bikes, as well as ATVS and dune buggies if no seatbelt is worn. Helmets must be to NZ Safety Standards.

A sign has been placed at the entrance to Himatangi Beach sponsored by local businesses and Manawatu District Council making it clear that helmets are compulsory.

The Horowhenua District Council will be erecting a new series of signs providing general information and the rules for Foxton beach users. There will be no excuse for non-compliance.

Other rules are:


  • Maintaining traction. Sustained loss of traction will lead to vehicles being  impounded.
  • Safe driving. Charges of careless, dangerous and reckless driving can apply and vehicles will be seized where appropriate.
  • Safe speeds. The speed limit on beach is 30km/h and Police will use speed detection devices.
  • Drink-driving. Coastal Liaison Officers will carry ‘sniffers’ to detect drivers who have been drinking.
  • Consideration to others. Operating a vehicle in a manner which causes annoyance attracts a $600 fine.
  • Well-maintained vehicles. All vehicles on the beach are required to be in good repair and operating safely.

“We have been hard working on the beaches to educate people of the rules in the past 12 months so there has been plenty of warning,” said Constable Hansen. “The time for warnings is over and the time for zero tolerance begins.”