In the wake of the Minister for Regulatory Reform – a Mr. Steven Joyce – announcing plans to remove a range of old or redundant legislation from the statute books, MyThinks has decided to have a quick squizz at some of the more obscure bits of legislation that have made it onto the books in recent years.
Fences and Hedges Redistribution Act 1928 (No 37)
Following the great fencing shortage of 1927, the government of Gordon Coates decided it was necessary to move thousands of miles of fencing, hedges and balustrades from the major centres of Christchurch, Auckland and Morrinsivlle and move them to more rural locations. It was hoped the legislation would help deal with the massive problem of wandering stock on the country’s burgeoning road network. Unfortunately for Coates, the failure of this legislation, due to stock eating most of the hedges and children escaping from their city dwellings, caused his downfall and he was removed from office a few months after its enactment.
New Zealand Scoundrels, Cads and Bounders Act 1902 (No 1 (P))
Following massive rises in the price of tweed fabric, there was a huge increase in the numbers of unsavoury rich people in the well-to-do Auckland suburbs of Parnell and Remuera. In order to try to quell the number of mustachioed idiots wandering the streets smoking giant cigars and quaffing expensive feijoa wine, Premier Richard Seddon ordered legislation be passed which would allow the government to send, “the rotten blighters back to the pantaloons shop to get some decent clothes and the barber for a shave.”
Drunk Gamblers Removal Act (1879 No 5 (P))
After a successful run on the Otago goldfields, many miners had pulled up their picks and moved to Dunedin. Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin became synonymous with heavy drinking, drug taking and hard-core dance parties, just like the Edinburgh of the North. Efforts to quell the drinking by sending in singing Quakers only exacerbated the situation. This led to several quakers being launched into the freezing waters of Port Charmers after a ceremonial catapult was stolen from a medieval reenactment group. Legislation was passed under urgency with George Grey turning the catapult onto the miners firing over 250 into the harbour one bleak winter night.