10 May 2013

PM says tourism industry not complacent over safety

2:48 pm on 10 May 2013

The Prime Minister says he does not accept criticisms made by the father of a British tourist killed in an air crash at Fox Glacier on the West Coast.

John Key, who is also Minister of Tourism, says the Government accepts some areas of adventure tourism need improving, but rejects comments made by Chris Corker earlier in May that the industry remains complacent.

Bradley Corker was one of four tourists among the nine people killed when a skydiving plane crashed shortly after takeoff in September 2010.

Along with the families of the other tourists, Chris Corker recently wrote to John Key calling for tougher safety standards.

Mr Corker says the Government and authorities are still failing very badly to tighten up policies.

However, Mr Key disagreed on Friday, saying although change is needed in certain areas, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) takes its responsibilities very seriously.

Mr Key said new regulations have been introduced, as well as mandatory audits and registration of adventure tourism businesses.

Drug and alcohol codes

The Prime Minister says the Government will move to enforce drug and alcohol codes in the adventure tourism industry if operators are not vigilant in applying them.

John Key told adventure tourism operators at a conference on Friday that New Zealand can't afford to have one or two people let it down.

Some operators have been found to have traces of cannabis in their system such as the Fox Glacier air crash in 2010 and the Carterton balloon accident in January 2012 in which 11 people died.

Mr Key said the Government will act if it has to.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Martin Snedden said there is still much work to be done, but the industry is on the right track towards creating a very safe adventure tourism culture.