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Noisy NZ car culture begins to dent tourism

5 DEC 2005

Noisy NZ car culture begins to dent tourism
Foreigners flee main street hotels and restaurants

New Zealand’s tolerance of unbearably loud car exhausts is beginning to backfire badly on tourism...

Extreme noise is now replacing extreme sport as an unforgettable holiday memory for many disgruntled tourists.

There are now daily complaints from restaurant and hotel guests in New Zealand’s main centres and resorts.

Many travellers are demanding refunds after sleepless nights. One hotel manager near Christchurch Square believes his business loses up to $25,000 a year because of late night noise from hoards of disruptive boy racers.

The manager says there are now several thousand people living near the Square, and during weekends, it can be like sleeping beside a race track. He says convoys of eight or more boy racers regularly roar through the city in the early hours.

While many main centre hotels count the cost of cancelled bookings, restaurants and cafes throughout the country are also suffering a hangover from modified exhausts.

Popular visitor destinations like Christchurch, Rotorua, Tauranga and Auckland are among the hardest hit.

Business leaders say they’re bracing for a summer of discontent as angry guests and diners demand to be relocated.

Many tourists say the exhaust issue has shattered New Zealand’s image as a quite, peaceful destination.

The anti-exhaust noise lobby group Noise-Off says international tourists are staggered by New Zealand’s lack of action on noisy exhausts. Spokesman Richard Raymond says some angry travellers say they’ll be warning friends and family not to visit here.

“The clean green image of New Zealand is going up in smoke,” he says.

“Almost every community in New Zealand now suffers the effects of excessive noise from deliberately modified vehicles. The noise is harmful and completely unnecessary. It should be illegal.”

Noise Off

The Noise Off Trust was established in July this year, to tackle the nationwide epidemic of exhaust noise. New Zealand has the unenviable reputation of being a world leader in failing to act on the problem.

Noise Off has no political affiliation and is a non profit organisation.

In recent months, the Noise Off Website has attracted thousands of visits and hundreds of messages from exasperated business and homeowners.

One Hotel owner calls for special legislation and appropriate text blackouts during police blitz.

Another writer – a homeowner – complains of experiencing a two year living hell since neighbours turned their property into a muffler testing workshop.


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