A south Otago woman has complained to the Independent Police Conduct Authority in an effort to curb a neighbouring naturist’s nude activities.
Kaka Point retiree Michelle Rutherford contacted the body last week due to her ‘‘utter frustration’’ with apparent police inaction regarding the naturism of her The Nuggets Rd neighbour Lloyd Bonnar.
Mrs Rutherford said she believed local police were being ‘‘stifled’’ by Wellington prosecutors in bringing successful legal action to bear on Mr Bonnar — a farmer from Gore — and she had gone to the police watchdog as a last resort.
Although a court case in August last year found Mr Bonnar’s nude activities at his crib — which included walking, swimming and sunbathing on the adjoining public beach — were within the law, Mrs Rutherford said that had only ‘‘emboldened’’ her neighbour.
‘‘The judge in that case said this was a deserted beach.
‘‘Well that’s simply not true, either here, or further up the beach where [Mr Bonnar] walks.
‘‘We have families picnicking at Karoro Creek, and residents who’ve seen him walking up as far as the surf club in the presence of families and children.
‘‘That’s not just naturism, it’s exhibitionism as far as I’m concerned.’’
A police spokeswoman said they could not comment on Mrs Rutherford’s concerns because of privacy laws.
Residents contacted by the Otago Daily Times confirmed the extent of Mr Bonnar’s naked walks.
The Kaka Point Surf Life Saving Club, which adjoins the centre of the township, is 1.7km to the north.
June and Ian Kreger (both 83) said their neighbour’s nude activities sometimes deterred them from leaving their home.
‘‘It’s spoiling locals’ enjoyment of the beach.
‘‘I know that if we see [Mr Bonnar’s] car there, we won’t go down to the beach in case we’re met with a nasty surprise.
‘‘We’d just like the police to be allowed to do something.’’
The ODT contacted Mr Bonnar, who said he did not wish to comment on his neighbours’ allegations.
‘‘It’s already been through court, and the judge has ruled it’s naturism, which it is,’’ Mr Bonnar said.
University of Otago law professor Andrew Geddis said, under most circumstances, the law allowed for nudity in public.
‘‘It’s lawful to be naked in a public place unless it amounts to or involves disorderly or offensive behaviour.’’
He said the law did not stipulate in which locations nudity was permitted, although context was important in determining the behaviour’s legality.
‘‘The way the law is applied means a certain level of tolerance and toughness is expected from individuals when encountering public nudity.
‘‘If you don’t like it, step away.
‘‘Nudity is highly context specific. If an individual decided to sunbathe naked near a children’s birthday party on the beach, that might be considered offensive.
‘‘However, the Nude Blacks [student rugby game] is all fun and games as far as most people are concerned.’’