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Vandalism no reason to punish Fiordland tourism

Vandalism no reason to punish Fiordland tourism

"It is opportunistic and crass of Conservation Minister Chris Carter to use the vandalism incident of a diesel spill in Milford Sound as reason to introduce extra limits on the Fiordland tourism industry," says National Party Environment spokesman Nick Smith.

"This incident has all the hallmarks of a stupid act of vandalism. Limiting visitor or boat numbers would not reduce the risk of such an incident. A vandal can create an oil spill with only one boat. It is as though the Minister wants to punish the tourism industry for the acts of a criminal rather than focusing on the criminal.

"The sensible response to this incident, that the Minister should be initiating, is to review the security of the tourism vessels operating in the Sounds and particularly to make their fuel takes more secure. The company 'Real Journey's' should be commended for already reviewing its security, while Environment Southland and the Department of Conservation should be working with them and the other operators in the Fiord to prevent a repeat of this spill.

"This knee jerk reaction from the Minister in wanting to put further limits on the visitor industry does nothing to protect the environment and is typical of his 'blame business' approach. Any discussion about further visitor number limits should be completely isolated from this stupid act of vandalism," says Dr Smith.

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