Jacinda Ardern poo-poos potential law change to stop pooping in public

  • 14/07/2022
A man sitting on an abandoned toilet
A camping organisation wants more public facilities and the law to be tightened. Photo credit: Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has weighed in on the calls for the public pooping law to change in an appearance on the television show The Project in Australia.

"There is no intention to change what I consider to be basic hygiene standards," she told the programme's hosts, seemingly poo-pooing any call for a law update.

"I can promise you there will not be people defecating in the streets."

It followed an appearance by Bob Osborne, spokesperson for Responsible Campers Association Inc (RCAi), who last week called for the change.

The group wants to see the law - which currently allows people to poop in public if they think they aren't being watched - tightened amid accusations of blaming freedom campers for the issue.

"There remains no evidence pointing to any specific group and frankly, as a group, freedom campers are the least likely group to need to do so or at least recognise the need for burial," it said.

It has also called for Waka Kotahi, the NZ Transport Agency, to fund more toilet facilities for travellers as part of a long-term solution.

"At the moment section, 32 of the Summary Offence Act provides a legal defence to a charge of urinating or defecating in a public place if a person believes they will not be observed," Osborne said.

"While many groups and NIMBYs like to blame freedom campers, there is no evidence linking any specific group to this undesirable practice."

The group wants two additional clauses added to 'not being observed' before a defence to defecation could be presented.

They would ensure all human waste must be buried to a depth of at least 15cm and that any "business" is done 50 metres or more from a waterway, bringing the law closer to what the Department of Conversation (DoC) recommends for anyone caught short.

Currently, anyone who urinates or defecates in any public place other than a public library can be fined up to $200, if they don't prove they had "reasonable grounds for believing that he would not be observed".