Last year, 105 people drowned in New Zealand waters, and 92 of those deaths were preventable.
Tragically, that figure includes nine children under the age of 15, and eight of the total deaths occurred right here in the Bay.
Some 26 people were caught not wearing or not carrying lifejackets on their boats, kayaks or jet skis in Tauranga over the festive season last year, and to put it bluntly, it’s not good enough. We need to do better when it comes to water safety. This is particularly true when it comes to our kids.
National MP Alfred Ngaro shares this view and has introduced a Members Bill to parliament that will require all kids under the age of 15 to be wearing life jackets on vessels under six metres in length.
He is calling on the government to adopt the bill and support it, but so far they are saying no.
The timing of this bill is perfect as we head into the Christmas break, and sends a clear signal that no Kiwi kids need to drown this summer. So come on Labour, let’s put politics aside when it comes to water safety.
If for whatever reason you are unable to provide a life jacket to your kids this summer and you’ll be taking them out on the water, please do get in touch with my office. Alfred has had a limited number of life jackets donated that he is trying to get out in to the community.