Sculpture snapping 'comes down to negligence' - lawyer

Morning Talk 10/10/2018

You break it, you buy it: that's the message from Wellington's mayor to the man who broke a sculpture on the city's waterfront.

Hunter MacDonald sustained moderate injuries after climbing and swinging off Len Lye's 'Water Whirler' on Monday.

"I was bored out of my mind," he told Stuff.

But his reckless actions didn't win him many fans, including Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

"We've referred this to the police and to be honest, I don't have a lot of sympathy.”

'Water Whirler' cost $1 million to install back in 2006, and this latest round of damage is expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"You break it, you buy it," Mayor Lester says.

If you climbed on a piece of art and damaged it, then you're going to be liable for that.

Mr MacDonald says he's remorseful, and willing to do whatever's required to make amends.

Wellington lawyer Alan Knowsley from law firm Rainey Collins, says Mr MacDonald may well be liable for the costs of repair.

“It doesn’t matter whether he knows it’s valuable or not, if you crash into a Rolls Royce you’re liable for that just as much as if you crash into some other car,” he told RadioLIVE.

Mr Knowsley says knowledge of the value of something you destroy makes no difference, it comes down to negligence.

“If you went up and climbed on a piece of art and damaged it, then you’re going to be liable for that.”

Listen to the full interview with Alan Knowsley above.

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