Tourism Minister John Key owes an explanation to the families of victims of adventure tourism accidents after breaking his promise to ensure safety in the industry, says Labour’s Tourism spokesperson Darien Fenton.
“Last night’s Three Degrees programme revealed that four years after John Key assured those families and adventure tourists that he intended to make the industry safe, progress has stalled, if not gone backwards.
“A review of risks and safety in adventure tourism operations in 2010 was ordered by the Prime Minister, recommendations were made and announcements were made about providers to conduct safety audits. But then it all stopped.
“Outdoors New Zealand told the Government earlier this year that it did not have the funding to complete the safety audits required for operators under the Health & Safety (Adventure Activity) Regulations by November 1. Other providers fell over early in the piece.
“No-one knows if the 500-odd organisations who said they were subject to the regulations will be audited in time for the November deadline. What will happen if they can’t?
“This has created huge uncertainty for businesses and tourists in this important part of our tourism industry. It has also created unnecessary grief for the families of those killed in adventure tourism accidents.
“Adventure activity providers have no certainty about forward bookings, or for that matter the survival of their businesses. Users have no certainty safety standards are being implemented.
“This is a mess and the Prime Minister is responsible. His broken promises to make adventure tourism safety are sounding increasingly hollow,” Darien Fenton says.