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Peters launches safe travel campaign

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs


Embargoed until 12.30pm, 16 June 2006
Media statement

Peters launches safe travel campaign


Foreign Minister Winston Peters today launched a campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of preparing properly for overseas travel.

The 'Safe Travel' campaign has been developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with the support of travel agents, insurers and airlines.

Mr Peters said the campaign's aim was to help New Zealanders reduce the risk of getting into difficulties while overseas by making better preparations for their travel before leaving home.

"The fact is that people are travelling much more frequently now. At the same time, however, risks are increasing and while most New Zealand travellers do plan carefully, more and more are getting into difficulties while overseas," Mr Peters said.

"Requests to foreign affairs staff to help New Zealanders in difficulty overseas had nearly trebled in the past five years, from just over 2500 cases in 1998/99 to nearly 7000 cases in 2004/05.

"Much of this assistance results from unforeseeable events, such as a natural disaster or a death or injury overseas. In such situations it is reasonable for the public to expect the government to provide prompt and effective assistance, and it does so.

"But unfortunately there are many situations where the Ministry’s help is called upon because people have not prepared themselves properly. Simple precautions like insurance, health check-ups and passports checks can save considerable trauma later on.

“The new safetravel.govt.nz website launched today is packed with useful, easy-to-read travel information, including country travel advice, safe travel tips, and links to useful websites.

"It also links to a new registration database, enabling New Zealanders to easily register their travel details so they can be quickly contacted in an emergency at home or in their country of travel.

“The website will be promoted through the travel, insurance and airline industries. They will also help distribute Safe Travel brochures, which will be mailed to about 400,000 new passport recipients each year.

“I am pleased that the campaign has the full support of the relevant sectors of the travel industry, which is also fully engaged in a Safe Travel Advisory Group, which will meet regularly to consider progress and advise on any changes needed," Mr Peters said.


ENDS

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