Drilling threatens NZ image

19:49, Jun 13 2012

Off-shore drilling is in direct conflict with New Zealand's 100 per cent pure image, according to Kaikoura business representatives who want Tourism Minister John Key to consider the potential damage to the industry.

Wilderness Walks owner-operator Nicky McArthur has spoken to Inside Tourism about her concerns, with an article appearing on the publication's front page.

Ms McArthur said the tourism industry was worth 10 per cent of the country's GDP each year, employing one in 20 New Zealanders.

"We are reliant on this expanding market and just cannot afford to jeopardise it," she said.

"I wonder how our Minister of Tourism can continue to talk 100 per cent Pure New Zealand when he is encouraging this [mineral prospecting and drilling]."

Ms McArthur is also a trustee of the Huttons Shearwater Charitable Trust and said the impact of an oil spill on wildlife in the district, could prove disastrous.

"To lose these birds would be a great tragedy affecting both land and sea," she said.

"We simply cannot just take this lying down."

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Kaikoura Star