Statement From Motorsport New Zealand Inc
There is deep concern throughout motorsport circles in New Zealand following the decision by the New Zealand Police to prosecute four volunteer officials involved with the Queenstown Street Road Race two years ago. At the event two spectators were killed following an accident where a competitor’s car left the circuit and entered an area where the spectators concerned were sitting.
“We have worked closely with the Police in their investigation of the incident and cannot agree with the decision they have reached to proceed with these prosecutions,” President of MotorSport New Zealand, Steven Kennedy, said. “At the request of the Police, we have an FIA International Circuit Inspector coming to New Zealand whose opinion we believe will have considerable impact on the outcome of the investigation. The Police decision to proceed before that report is available we believe to be exceptionally harsh on those charged. The four men concerned have the full support of MotorSport New Zealand and we have engaged senior counsel for their defence. It continues to be a very difficult period for them and their families as it will be some time yet before the matter goes to a full trial.
Motorsport, like many other sports in New Zealand, relies heavily on volunteers. We will continue to provide all our officials with the full backing of our organisation. It is vital that we have trained and experienced track inspectors, licensed clerks of course, and stewards to provide oversight and management at events.
Safety of both spectators and competitors is paramount in our sport. Our safety record is excellent given that there are over 900 events a year run under the umbrella of MotorSport New Zealand, with over 15,000 active participants plus hundreds of volunteers, on whom we depend heavily.
Because the matter is now before the Courts we cannot comment further on the details of this case but the fact the Police have taken it raises serious questions for officials and volunteers in any sport or leisure activity that includes risk to either participants or spectators,” Mr Kennedy said.
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From: MotorSport New Zealand Inc
P O Box 3793, Wellington
Contact: Steven Kennedy, President. Phone: 03 225 8306 or 025 359 639
Lester Smith, General Manager. Phone: 029 936 542