ONTD Political

Nude jogging ruled legal in NZ

3:26 pm - 12/01/2012
The right to go jogging in the nude has been upheld by the High Court.

Andrew Lyall Pointon, 47, was wearing only a pair of shoes when he was spotted by a woman while running at 8.30am in a forest near Tauranga in August last year.

The woman, who was walking her dog, was so offended and threatened by what she had seen that she vowed not to return to the Oropi Bike Park.

She lodged a complaint with police and three days later Mr Pointon was arrested as he emerged naked from the forest after another run.

He was charged with offensive behaviour and found guilty in Tauranga District Court last December.

An appeal was thrown out in June, but a second appeal was yesterday upheld by Justice Paul Heath in the High Court at Tauranga.

"If it was [offensive] then God wouldn't have given us genitals," Mr Pointon told The Dominion Post yesterday. "It is a win for all libertarians and a setback for all conservatives in the country."

However, Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie said he was disappointed with Justice Heath's decision, which showed "double standards".

"Is it OK for someone to streak through his courtroom? He'd be the first one to put them in the cells."

Justice Heath compared the case with the hypothetical scenario of two patched gang members strolling along the same track.

"It would not be surprising for a person in the position of the complainant to be concerned and discomforted by their presence, and even to feel threatened," he said.

"However, on any view, their behaviour would not be regarded as offensive behaviour. Should the sight of a naked man, in the circumstances in which the complainant found herself, be treated any differently? I think not."

Mr Pointon - a naturist for more than two decades - is no stranger to controversy. Events he has organised have caused an uproar among members of the community, including a nude bike ride at Papamoa in March to draw attention to global emissions. Residents threatened to form a human chain to stop the event.

Two months before his arrest he was trespassed from McLaren Falls Park and given a warning by police after a 7-kilometre naked run.

Mr Pointon said yesterday he enjoyed the freedom of not wearing clothes and began running naked about 18 months ago because he thought New Zealand was becoming more liberal, particularly with discussions around gay marriage.

"It's just another lifestyle and I want respect for it."

He lashed out at the woman who complained to police. "It's just ludicrous. Has this person got nothing better to do than wasting everyone's time?

"All she saw was a naked man running through the bush. It was just a fleeting moment, which has cost us all.

"It just shows that it was a stupid decision by police to go ahead . . . and charge me for something totally irrelevant."

Justice Heath said Mr Pointon was a genuine naturist who had chosen a time of day when it was unlikely children would be on the track.

"While the complainant was discomforted by the sight of Mr Pointon and . . . instinctively responded to that feeling, the encounter was brief."

Mr Pointon's lawyer Michael Bott - a specialist in human rights and civil liberties - said he could not understand why women were able to ride naked down the main street of Tauranga during the Boobs on Bikes event without intervention and yet days later his client was arrested going about his business in a remote area: "It just appears inconsistent and grossly sexist."

If the original decision went unchallenged, it would have had a "chilling effect" on freedom of expression, he said.

"Police should learn to become more tolerant and learn New Zealand is becoming increasing tolerant of a . . . variety of lifestyle choices and expressions."

Mr McCoskrie said there was a time and a place for nakedness and it was not in a public place.

"It's offensive to most of the population - that's why most of us wear clothes."

In a similar case, Nick Lowe was convicted of offensive behaviour and fined $200 after he was stopped by police while riding his bike naked in Akatarawa Rd, north of Upper Hutt, in March 2009 - World Nude Bike Day.

However, a year later Justice Denis Clifford ruled Mr Lowe's nakedness had not met the test of offensive behaviour. He quashed the conviction and fine.

Mr Lowe said he had supported Mr Pointon throughout his ordeal and the decision would "empower people to pursue outdoor pursuits without clothes".

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de_berzerk 1st-Dec-2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
The most natural thing in the world; something we all have, yet everyone is offended by it.
Oi vey.
stellaglam 1st-Dec-2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
As a woman I would not feel comfortable jogging naked but good for that guy I guess...
omimouse 1st-Dec-2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
All I can think is that his balls must be tough as leather. Ow.
romp 1st-Dec-2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
I actually lol'd
ragnor144 1st-Dec-2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
Not having a penis I wouldn't know, but wouldn't this be painful after awhile?
mercystars 1st-Dec-2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
I was thinking the same thing. I realize parts aren't the same but I can't go for a run without a sports bra, how on earth could it be comfortable for a man to run naked?

The chafing...my god, the chafing...
spyral_path 1st-Dec-2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
I've had enough fully clothed men go out of their way to make me uncomfortable that the idea of a world where men can literally run around naked makes me cringe.
stellaglam 1st-Dec-2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's what's bugging me about this...In a utopian world we would all be able to wear nothing if we felt like it, but sadly as a female I feel naked enough with clothes on so the thought of being confronted with naked men on every corner is just absurd to me!
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
korppi_ravn 1st-Dec-2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
Ngl, I'd feel a little uncomfortable if I saw someone, anyone, strolling naked through the streets. But that's me, and it certainly shouldn't be illegalised because some of us are clutching our pearls at the sight. It's still natural, so, more power to them. I could never do it though, even walking fast without a bra or some support for by breasts hurt.
bananainpyjamas 1st-Dec-2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm usually fine walking but I was in a rush to get to the student pharmacy one morning and figured it'd be okay to bike over without a bra. OW, talk about feeling every bump in the road.
danger0usbeans 1st-Dec-2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
On one hand, I do think society is way too uptight about the human body, and if a dude wants to jog naked it's hardly the end of the world. On the other hand, I'm so sick of people claiming that whatever thing they want to do should be accepted because homosexuality is becoming more accepted. Being gay is not a "lifestyle choice", asshole.
(no subject) - Anonymous
cellared 1st-Dec-2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
"a win for all libertarians"!!

lol fucking libertarians.

As a survivor I would find encountering this threatening and disturbing. There's an element of consent (for the unwilling viewer) involved here that isn't being respected at all.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
psychesky 1st-Dec-2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
Visiting NZ in two weeks, wonder if I'll see any nude joggers? Also now I wonder if this would apply to being topless on a beach (namely Piha). I really enjoy NYC's topfreedom law, it would be cool to have the same freedom everywhere.

Kinda side-eying his nudity-gay marriage comparison. I mean, I get that a country having gay rights might be an indicator of it's level of liberal thinking, but they aren't both a comparable 'lifestyle.'
patu_paiarehe 1st-Dec-2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
Please don't think we're all like this tho :P

Seriously, as a Kiwi who regularly goes running, I would be freaked as fuck if I was sharing a trail with some naked guy. There's a time and a place, namely: not when you're forcing other people to deal with it. I get that naturism =/= exhibitionism but people like this guy are just going 'MEMEMEME IT'S ALL ABOUT MEEEE' and ignoring the good reasons women would have to not want to be around naked men.

As for topless sunbathing at Piha, I don't think it is illegal but it's not really done either. Sorry. The English prudery runs strong with us.

yeats 1st-Dec-2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
things i could not give a shit about: this. so long as there isn't any sitting on public benches sans towels, then it really doesn't bother me.

Edited at 2012-12-01 06:10 pm (UTC)
evil_laugher 1st-Dec-2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
Gee, I can't imagine why a woman would feel threatened by a naked man running through the woods.

Not sure I see the connect to gay marriage...
dumpweeds 1st-Dec-2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
this just reminds me of when I went to the folsom street fair and this naked guy walked by me, and I stepped a little to the side to let him go by and none of his parts would touch me. I'm fine with penises but that doesn't mean I want them touching me. he looked at me and laughed and said "it's not a weapon!" and I just laughed a little awkwardly and let him go by /san franciscan /csb
romp 1st-Dec-2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
Also, it's not a loofah and you're not in the shower. >:/ Guy needs to reread his chapter on consent.
redstar826 1st-Dec-2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
he enjoyed the freedom of not wearing clothes and began running naked about 18 months ago because he thought New Zealand was becoming more liberal, particularly with discussions around gay marriage.

um, no.

Me wanting to marry another woman is really not the same thing as someone wanting to walk around naked. Now, personally, I don't particularly care one way or the other about public nudity, especially since I live in a place where it would be too damned cold for it most of the year anyways. However, I also think there are legit reasons why women might feel uncomfortable being around naked dudes they dont know as other commenters have already pointed out.
kagehikario 1st-Dec-2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
Hmm; could this set a sketchy precedent that would prevent prosecution in case of flashers? Because in that case, it's a form of sexual assault. But if it's only context separating that from this... :/
ms_maree 1st-Dec-2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
Meh, he's running around in the bush. I've seen those types before in the middle of 'who-gives-a-fuck-nowhere' over the years.

He wouldn't get away with it in the suburbs and that's okay with me too.
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