Teiro Ngaa Kitai, a scrap metal dealer, pleaded guilty yesterday on three charges of sexually violating the 24 year old experienced traveller who had safely hitched his way through Australia and Canada without incident.
The attack took place near Opotiki, the small town where an Asian visitor was raped in her bedroom by two teenagers who invaded the home she was staying in (see blog post) Two youths are now in custody.
Predictably the two attacks, and the attacks on a group of 3 Chinese tourists at the base of 90 Mile Beach and French citizen Anthony Cressend at a Northland campsite, have re-ignited the debate about New Zealand's violent image abroad.
As more and more visitors are beaten, raped and robbed the country is rapidly gaining an embarrassing and notorious international reputation as somewhere that is not as safe as it would like to think it is. The attacks also come in a year when 6 prosecutions relating to safety breaches in 12 fatalities related to adventure tourism activities (4 of them foreign nationals) work their way through the court system.
Figures comparing the country's very poor crime statistics to the rest of the developed world may be found under the Stats link at the top of this page.
The NZHerald has again invited its readers to answer its longstanding question "Is increased violence damaging NZ's image abroad?" here are some of the recent reader responses:
Stanley (North Shore)
Monday August 24, 2009 I was attacked in the road rage incident in 2006 on the quiet street at North Shore when I reported the attack at local Police station that night, since then I have not heard from Police.
But since nobody was seriously heart as I have used my best defense back in time, my feet Lol however I have to say naive the person thinking there is no crime in NZ
Why NZ is different from other countries? Surely not much crime but it is exist and yes it is damaging our image a little.
Gangs and drugs ad disorderly conduct of some youngsters is a problem here for sure.
Ryansway (Wellington City)
Tuesday August 4, 2009 This weekend in Wellington, a 14 yr old girl bashed for her handbag by two older hood-clad street girls, and a 20 yr old lady subjected to a cowardly sexual assault by a hood-clad male. Both victims were "soft targets", and thats a phrase that rings all too familiar these days because the perpetrators are low-life cowards!
There are notable statistics relating to crime that need to be addressed without shying away from those too ignorant to accept the truth. Our society cannot continue to tolderate those who wish to reign terror and anarchy on the majority of law abiding citizens.
We cannot continue to tolerate pockets of society who believe the laws of this country do not apply to them so that they are free to commit cowardly crimes without fear of moral consequence or accountability. There must be an end-game to this proliferating pattern of offending that has plagued this country increasingly this past decade.
The time has arrived to break the chains of political correctness to examine the roots of criminal offending. This country is in dire need of law and order, and our society must be free to explore all possible causes and solutions by addressing them openly and honestly.
Tuesday August 4, 2009 I can not believe the attitude of Dolly! Its this sort of thinking that makes NZ what it is.
I lived most of my life in NZ and didnt realise just how dangerous it is until I came to live overseas.
Every day I read the Herald and am appalled at whats going on at home. I walk the streets here at night, often on my own, and have never felt safer. This is not something I would ever have contemplated doing in NZ. I talk to people who want to travel to NZ and they are shocked when I tell them of the violence and,
Yes they do need to know before they come so that they dont fall into the traps that many tourists find themselves in. I am in the tourism industry and find it embarressing having to put people straight when all they hear about is how wonderful the people are in NZ. We used to be a great country and we are allowing a small element to dictate to us and its got to stop people! Come on lets make NZ great again.