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More robust culture needed around adventure tourism

Andrew
LITTLE
Tourism Spokesperson

6 May 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
More robust culture needed around adventure tourism
Tourism Minister John Key needs to assure travellers that the absence of some very basic risk assessment procedures isn’t putting them in any undue danger, says Labour’s Tourism spokesperson Andrew Little.

A coroner’s report into the death of nine people in the 2010 Fox Glacier sky dive plane crash concludes a number of causes lay behind the crash although no definitive conclusion could be drawn. Identified causes include fitness of the aircraft, overloading, and the fact passengers were not secured inside the aircraft.

“Like so many health and safety accidents we’ve seen reported on recently, this looks like a classic case of a failure to carry out even a basic risk assessment for this activity with this aircraft.

“The families are correct when they say New Zealand is too blasé about health and safety and this accident was yet another wake up call to do better.

“It’s tempting to go down the path of ever more detailed and specific regulation but history tells us that just transfers responsibility away from operators.

“What we need most is a robust culture of risk assessment which means business owners and operators themselves take a considered approach to what they are doing and don’t leave good health and safety performance to chance.

“This means educating operators in the adventure tourism sector in how to conduct a proper risk assessment and ensuring this is a major focus of inspections by authorities.

“Given the obvious issues at the heart of this tragedy, it’s hard to see why the Prime Minister, who is also Tourism Minister, would focus his attention in this area on drug-testing.

“There are bigger issues at play here. Leadership, not blame-shifting, is required.”

ENDS