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Government Provides Confidence To Those Seeking An Adventure

With our borders opened and tourists returning, those seeking out adventurous activities can do so more safely due to the steps we’ve taken to improve the health and safety regulatory regime for adventure activities, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood has announced.

“We are seeing international visitor numbers begin to climb, with over 134,000 visiting here in July alone,” Michael Wood said.

“Our adventure activities sector is a major draw card for the prosperity of our regions, and it’s important for our economic security that we maintain high safety standards in the sector so that we can continue to attract tourists to many of the regional based activities.

“Following an extensive public consultation, and targeted sector work, I am pleased to confirm a package of changes to the adventure activities regulatory regime that will support improved safety standards in the sector.”

The package of changes include four areas:

· introducing specific requirements for how adventure activity operators must assess and manage natural hazard risks

· strengthening requirements for operators to communicate risks to activity participants

· stronger operator registration and notification requirements

· reviewing and updating adventure activity safety guidance.

“Together, these changes are targeted towards the areas the sector has told us will make the most practical difference for safety, while avoiding significant new costs or restricting access to activities,” Michael Wood said.

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“These changes will result in clearer, more consistent standards for what organisations providing adventure activities must do to manage risks. They will also support WorkSafe to take a stronger monitoring and enforcement role.

“Most adventure activity operators are already following good practice and will only need to make minor adjustments to their safety systems. The aim of these changes is to help standardise these good practices and spread them across the sector.

“These changes form part of the Government’s response to the Whakaari/White Island tragedy in December 2019. Making improvements to the regulatory regime for adventure activities is one area of change to help prevent injury and loss of life in the future,” Michael Wood said.

WorkSafe will be working with the sector to implement the changes that are expected to be fully implemented by late 2023.

Notes:

· Adventure activities are activities which are paid for, involve the participant being guided or taught, and are designed to deliberately expose the participant to serious risk. Examples include guided mountaineering, heli-skiing, scuba diving and high ropes courses. More details can be found on WorkSafe’s website: https://www.worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/adventure-activities/what-is-an-adventure-activity/

· The changes are expected to be fully implemented by late-2023 including a 3–4-month transitional period for operators to adjust to new requirements before they take legal effect.

· The Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016 will be amended, and there will be updates to the Adventure Activities Safety Audit Standard and guidance materials published by WorkSafe.

· The consultation outlined options to strengthen the regulations closed in November 2021 and information can be found on MBIE's website.

· The consultation covered proposals for change to:

o strengthen requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risks

o improve how risk is monitored, accessed and communicated

o strengthen WorkSafe’s regulatory leadership role, and

o improve the safety audit standard, audit process and guidance and information for the sector.

· The targeted review (that informed the changes that were consulted on) of the adventure activities health and safety regime can be found here: Analysis of the adventure activities regime | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (mbie.govt.nz)

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