ARC “Bans Photos”


UPDATE after ARC/ ARTA inquiry here

A reader reports an ugly incident at New Lynn today in which a security guard stopped him taking photos from the street of the new transport hub saying the ARC has banned all photos of the construction.

The reader says the man wearing a security uniform said he was employed by the ARC and the only photos allowed of the new station were those authorised by the ARC and which they put up online.

He demanded the man’s name and got on the phone to “report him.”

The security man refused to give him his own name.

The reader said he was on the street taking photos and there is no law against that.

With all the photos I have taken of construction sites over the past two years, I’ll be potentially serving a life imprisonment for my crimes when they catch up with me.

ARTA say there is a process for getting permission to take photos inside construction areas.

However this was a mere reader on the street peering at the construction site and a harmless member of the public.
UPDATE * ARC Chair Mike Lee has emailed me to make clear there is no official ban and that it is over zealous security which is being investigated.
See artists illustrations of what the new transport hub could look like if photographed




  1. Jeff says:

    I propose we arrive en-masse to new Lynn this weekend DSLR’s and telefocals in hand

  2. Jon says:

    You do not have to give your details to a security worker. The only person you must is a police officer.

    Never feel threatened by the security. In general they are nice people, but when heavy handed you do not need to listen to them. Continue taking photos and tell them to call police. Most likely the police will not turn up…if they do they’ll laugh!

  3. Richard says:

    This is the sort of c..p they have been putting up with in UK photographing trains from platforms.
    Government there has now told the operators to stop banning photography unless the person is creating a hazard.

    I’m sure ARC, if they were responsible, are wrong in law. They can stop people going on to the work site but surely not photographing from public land. You can copyright a building design but not people looking at it and recording the image. Also, surely we as taxpayers and ratepayers own the building anyway?

  4. Gerard says:

    Since when was it illegal to take photos in a public space?

    This security guard sounds like he was after a incident to do something.

  5. Nick R says:

    Shooting flash photography at oncoming trains is a safety issue, especially in tunnels, not that this was going on here.

  6. Jon C says:

    Good advice everyone, thanks. There is no law banning in NZ taking photos in a public place and as said it is our ratepayers money that is being spend on it anyway.
    I love the idea of a mass turnout.
    Since doing the blog I have had three lawyers emails threatening action over photos which have caught people in photos (all train staff). One email was especially intimidating and over the top in its threats. Thankfully they were all resolved but the tone of the emails surprised me. The super heavy lawyer said he would ensure the blog was closed down!! The photos by the way were not unpleasant but just caught train staff in their work.
    My about section explains that taking photos in public can accidentally catch people in the process and anyone who doesnt want their image shown only has to contact me.
    But there is no way authorities can say you can not take photos from the street of buildings and I am going to follow up with this security firm about their inappropriate behaviour in connection with this reader.

  7. Andy says:

    Very interesting info Jon. It seems very petty how some people get their knickers in such a twist over a simple photo. I’m especially surprised that train staff have done this as I thought they would support your site and the great stuff that goes on here.

  8. Jon C says:

    @Andy Its understandable people get upset if they find a photo of themselves online even if they are just getting off a train and a comment someone posted about one of the train managers pictured sparked one of the complaints!

  9. William Ross says:

    The stereotype of all brawn and few brains sadly applies to too many security people I come across. the worst are just paid thugs who would get no other job and would have no chance of getting in the police. Others let their power get carried away with them and also easily mis-interpret information (He is not employed by the ARC but employed by a security firm that is contracted by ARTA to keep an eye on the construction). He has no idea of the law but is eager to make an impression with his bosses and give the impression he is catching people so he gets another stripe on his uniform.
    Governments have made limp attempts to regulate the security industry and it’s time they really got tough.
    I’m also very disappointed that ARC/ARTA lets this sort of thing happen - or have they really given the instruction no one can photograph this.
    I was going to say hurry up the super city but that may just breed super officials who get off even more on ruling the whole isthmus.

  10. Ian says:

    A couple of years ago, in the evening of the final day of daylight saving, my phone suddenly starting ringing with friends advising me that I had just been on TV. To conclude the 6pm news the readers had made the usual newslite comments about remembering to adjust clocks etc and that simple pleasures such as walking might be curtailed somewhat with the passing of daylight saving. As TV is nothing without something visual to back a commentary there was me battling up Mt Kaukau just on dusk. I hadn’t realised that I had been filmed and no one sought my permission to show the film. I wasn’t miffed, just surprised. The TV company was within the law. It is not illegal to film the public going about its business and showing the film didn’t disadvantage me in any way.

  11. Aaron says:

    If this is ARTA’s grand plan to encourage young railfans, in 50 years railfans won’t exist…

  12. Phil Hanson says:

    The New Lynn incident is another example of an anti-photography paranoia that has swept through the Western world as a result of terrorist, and anti-terrorist activities. The internet, particularly sites that deal with some aspect of photography, are awash with reports of everything from tourists being taken to the cells for photographing the outside of St Paul’s Cathedral to transpotters being treated heavily for photographing an Amtrak train whizzing through the hinterland. Unfortunately, another interest of mine is aircraft and nowadays you’re treated with suspicion for pointing a camera at even a Cessna, let alone an airliner. It used to be, not any years ago, that aviation people were accepting, and even welcoming, of anyone taking an interest in their plane.

  13. Jon C says:

    @Phil It’s crazy, isn’t it and very hard on innocent enthusiasts and hobbyists who just want to film aircraft etc.

  14. Anthony M says:

    I got a big telling off for Filming planes at Christchurch airport, this was outside of the perimeter fencing on other other side of the Airport terminal and within sight of other people, and yet an angry official drove up to me and demanded what I was doing!!!

    Honestly, Im just a 17 year old who has high interests in Aviation and Trains. why the hell are people thinking that I could in giving the Video to Osama Bin Laden or some other Crazy terrorist???

  15. Jon C says:

    @Anthony M Thats outrageous. You wouldn’t think that would happen in ChCh. Call me naive but I dont think Al Qaeda would be checking out the New Lynn bus depot either!

  16. karl says:

    Yep, adding my voice to this. I have taken numerous photos of construction work all over the city, and uploaded to public websites like Wikipedia. While I myself have never been hassled, it is amazing what post-9/11 some authorities (or imagined authorities) think they can get away with it. In the UK, it apparently got so bad, even photographers with bonafide press credentials got hassled big time.

    In a way it’s strange - I mean EVERYONE has a camera with them these days (cell phones). Why NOW this aggression against photographers?

    PS: Jon C, you have a bit of pull - at least enough to get an answer out of them. Could you ask ARC for a statement on this?

  17. Ian W says:

    As has already been said, only the police have any power in a public area. And only the NZ Police, Customs Service and Prison officers have any powers to detain.

    If an incident like this happens in a public area (outside the train station) tell the security guard to get stuffed and to summon a police officer to deal with it.

    If there is one thing I hate it is security guards who think they are above the law.


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