Thursday, December 24, 2009

Adventure Tourism Review 'Extended'

 Emily Jordan

Back in September we predicted the review of the Adventure tourism industry in NZ would probably take years and not months, so it comes as no surprise to hear that the review has just been been 'extended'.

The review was instigated following a request made by Chris Jordan, father of death of British tourist Emily Jordan who drowned whilst river boarding in the Kawarau River Gorge in April 2008. He called NZ safety regulation "no better than third world" and wrote to John Key asking for action to improve standards within the industry.

In his letter to Mr Key, Mr Jordan explained that he has spent 16 months investigating the way that extreme sports firms are regulated in New Zealand and was “appalled” at what he had found.
He said "It is vital that more young people do not die in this way. It is a tragic, unnecessary waste and they leave many grieving people behind for whom life is forever changed. This situation is damaging New Zealand’s reputation worldwide.

In an article in today's ODT Department of Labour group workplace policy manager Craig Armitage said that the two month extension was
"To give operators sufficient time to engage more fully with the review, given the summer period would be particularly busy. The review team is continuing to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and the extra time will allow for more robust stocktakes of risk management and safety provisions in the adventure and outdoor commercial sectors in New Zealand and internationally"...The final report will now be sent to Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson for her consideration by May, 31 next year. The public consultation period for the review closed last Wednesday."
"Engage more fully" we read this as operators may be giving the process the cold shoulder, is it business as usual for the adventure tourism industry? As long as the money is coming in and visitor numbers are high operators will see no reason to participate in the review. They may be hoping the whole tiresome thing will just disappear if they ignore it for long enough.

The article goes on to state
"Queenstown Lakes District Council outgoing chief executive Duncan Field had been selected by the council to represent Local Government New Zealand on the (review) steering group and the project working group.

He told the Otago Daily Times he was not sure he would be continuing serving on the groups, given he has not been reappointed chief executive.

The council was involved in the adventure tourism industry from the perspective of resource consenting, legislation such as the Shotover River Empowering Act and the harbourmaster function and bylaws."
We have the impression that the steam has long gone out this initiative and are wondering if the review it is little more than a face saving exercise to restore damaged reputations. If business this summer is good it will appear that objective has already been achieved. Only time will tell. Meanwhile we can be sure that the family and friends of Emily Jordan will be watching and waiting for the outcome.

Today's posts - click here

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Police Officer Shot in Papatoetoe, Another Armed Siege On The Streets Of NZ

A policeman has been shot in the leg at a property at Buckingham Crescent Papatoetoe, South Auckland during a routine patrol around 4.10am today.

An armed stand-off has developed and police have yet to make an arrest. A police report stated:
"At 4.10am today a 28 year old, male Police Officer was shot several times outside a house in Buckingham Crescent, Papatoetoe.

"A police patrol vehicle noticed a suspicious vehicle in a driveway. The vehicle had its hazards lights on and the two officers presumed it had been interfered with, one officer approached the vehicle on foot and was shot at in the darkness," says Superintendent Mike Bush, District Commander for Counties Manukau Police.

"Police assistance arrived at the scene almost immediately and six officers entered the scene and recovered the injured officer. I applaud the decision of the senior staff involved in this incident to extract the young Constable in the dangerous situation they were in."

The police officer was shot in his leg and his elbow. He suffered severe blood lost. He is currently at Middlemore Hospital undergoing surgery, his condition is described by medics as serious but stable.
"We are talking to a number of people, one person of significant interest. This person was located close to the scene. We are trying to establish what role he played within the incident. It is believed that there may still be one more offender outstanding," says Mr Bush.

Two firearms have been located at the scene. All staff at the scene are armed and the area is cordoned off."
Our thoughts and hopes for a full and speedy recovery are with the injured officer and his family.

Not counting armed robberies it's been a while since an armed siege has happened in NZ, the last one was in June when a paraplegic man was shot dead in Burnside, Christchurch.

In May Jan Molenaar shot dead a police officer and critically injured three other people in Napier (see Armed sieges and gun politics in NZ) and in January innocent bystander Halatau Naitoko was killed in cross fire in an armed stand-off that brought an Auckland motorway to a stand still.

This latest shooting of a police officer in the line of duty (the 7th in 18 months) is bound to re-ignite the debate about arming NZ's police.

Firearms commonplace in NZ
New Zealand has 11 times as many guns per capita as Britain and 60 percent more than Australia (police are armed in Australia) There are an estimated 230,000 licensed firearms owners using approximately 1.1 million firearms, enough for 1 in 4 of the population. There are no figures for the number of weapons illegally owned by unlicensed people.

During a call to one domestic incident in a house in Otahuhu, South Auckland police came across an arms cache of about 45 high powered shot guns and rifles and ammunition.

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