Laws in New Zealand

Your Rights

The following will guide you through the legal rights relating to the typical reasons given by security guards/landowners.

Always train with respect for others and your surroundings. Do not run away or act suspiciously if police or others approach you. If you are asked to move on, then you should explain what Parkour is, be respectful and move on. It is better to be on good terms with landowners and/or the police if you, or other practitioners, want to return another day.

“This is a private property”

Private property is simply land that someone owns. In NZ, almost all land is owned by someone. This includes publicly accessible parks and squares, which are normally owned by local councils or by the crown. As a result, almost all parkour spots will be on private property.

Unlike other countries, NZ does not provide the public with express rights to access and use private property. However, this does not mean that you can never train on private property.

You can train on private property with the express consent or permission of the landowner or occupier. This can be managed by having a positive dialogue with them or their representatives, such as security guards.

You can also train on private property if there is an ‘implied licence’ to do so. In plain English, if a reasonable person would think that recreational physical activities are permitted at a location, then you likely have an implied licence to use that space for parkour training. Good examples of places with implied licenses are public parks and squares, bad examples would be residential homes and rooftops.

Both express consent and implied licences can be revoked by the landowner or occupier. They may tell you to stop and move on, or otherwise express that you are not permitted to use their property (such as ‘no parkour’ or ‘no entry’ signs). If your consent or license has been revoked, or if you never had it in the first place, you risk trespassing.

“You’re Trespassing!”

There are two types of trespass in New Zealand law: Criminal trespass and civil trespass.

It is criminal trespass to remain at a location, or to return within two years, if you have been warned to leave and/or not to return by the landowner or occupier. A ‘trespass notice’ as they are commonly referred to, does not need to be in writing, though they often are. Being verbally trespassed has the same legal standing as being trespassed in writing. Criminal trespass is a crime, and the police/state are responsible for prosecuting you, not the landowner or occupier.

In contrast, civil trespass can be any entry onto another’s land without their express consent or an implied licence. It does not require a prior warning. If liable for civil trespass, the landowner may take you to court or to the disputes tribunal to seek damages (a fine that you would pay to the landowner). However, unless you have caused property damage, they are unlikely to do so or to win substantial damages.

“We are liable if you hurt yourself”

In New Zealand, parkour injuries will be covered under the Accident Compensation Scheme (i.e. ACC). This means that the injured person cannot sue anyone (including the landowner or occupier) for their injuries.

Furthermore, although businesses have a duty to eliminate hazards in workplaces, WorkSafe have released policy statements saying that businesses are not liable for the risks arising from the recreational activities of others on their property, so long as it is not part of their business. Therefore, businesses will not likely be liable under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 for allowing you to do parkour there, so long as parkour is not a part of their business.

Accordingly, landowners will not be liable if you hurt yourself doing parkour.

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