United action will reclaim bay from exhibitionists

The Auckland Council seems to imagine itself caught in a cleft stick over the offensive behaviour of naked beachgoers at Ladies Bay.

Therefore, while it says that it sympathises with complainants, it will not be putting up warning signs.

"Indecent exposure is an offence and, unfortunately, signs would imply official or tacit endorsement of it," a spokesman said. That, however, all depends on the wording of the warnings.

Signs that encourage visitors to immediately report lewd or offensive behaviour to the police are wholly appropriate and should be reintroduced. Their deterrence value would be all the greater if police stationed only a few hundred metres away reacted quickly in the first few instances of such reports and kept a closer watch on the St Heliers beach.

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They and the council have done much to eradicate the late-night alcohol-fuelled partying that once occurred in the carpark above Ladies Bay. Clearly, the beach deserves no lesser attention.

Equally, residents of the eastern suburbs could do much by using Ladies Bay in larger numbers.

This would send a clear message to the oafs who one visitor this week described as "prancing exhibitionists, strutting their stuff".

The beach may have a tradition of nude bathing but that dates back to the time when St Heliers was accessible only by ferry. It seems incongruous that the behaviour of a relatively small group of men means this beautiful spot is effectively out of bounds to many.