Police told to keep their mouths shut about overseas licence holders

Motorcyclist Craig Alan Chambers died after a foriegn driver in a rental car crossed double yellow lines into the path ...
JAMES GUNN

Motorcyclist Craig Alan Chambers died after a foriegn driver in a rental car crossed double yellow lines into the path of six vehicles south of Oamaru.

South Island police have been told to keep their mouths shut about foreign drivers involved in crashes. 

Officers in the southern police district were told in October not to comment on the "nationality or ethnicity of drivers involved in crashes".

Media guidelines obtained under the Official Information Act show southern road policing manager inspector Tania Baron said police would not initially comment on the nationality or ethnicity of drivers involved in crashes. 

Ruby Jay Marris, 5, was farewelled in a pink coffin. Her family called for the Government to regulate the hiring and ...
John Bisset

Ruby Jay Marris, 5, was farewelled in a pink coffin. Her family called for the Government to regulate the hiring and licensing of all rental vehicles to overseas tourists.

The guidelines suggest officers should form "short responses" to media and "refrain from being drawn into comment on overseas licence holders as the initial investigation should be focused on what has happened".

As an alternative to revealing the driver's country of origin police were told to say "the licence status of each driver will form part of our overall investigation, and police are unable to comment at present." 

National road policing manager superintendent Steve Greally​ said it was not a nationwide policy. 

A 77-year-old United States tourist said he failed to stop at a crash near Queenstown, where he clipped a man and a ...
DEBBIE JAMIESON/FAIRFAX NZ

A 77-year-old United States tourist said he failed to stop at a crash near Queenstown, where he clipped a man and a three-year-old boy travelling on a motorised bike.

However, if a rental car and a foreign licence was found at the crash scene, it did not necessarily mean a tourist was involved. Police needed time to establish that. 

Police should initially determine why the crash happened before verifying whether or not the driver was a tourist.  

"We don't try to hide that... there's no reason to do that.

"It certainly would be disclosed in the end," he said. 

Ad Feedback

Media commentator Jim Tully said the available facts should be released to journalists as they would likely be relevant to the crash and be in the public interest.

Transport Agency data revealed the percentage of overseas drivers involved in crashes in some South Island locations was much higher than the national average, which was 6 per cent.  

Overseas drivers were involved in 27 per cent of fatal and injury crashes in Mackenzie, 25 per cent in Queenstown Lakes, 24 per cent in Southland and 16 per cent in Central Otago.

Tully said "people are entitled to know" the facts.

Police could "simply say this was the nationality on their passport, it was a rental car or campervan.

"That's just factual information and people can potentially reason to that what they choose."

Tully said if the nationality of the driver could be relevant, which seemed more likely when this was a known issue in the southern district, then people had a right to know. 

"For decades the police have always released quite a bit of information around accidents... This is a significant departure from that."

He did not understand how direct questions from media would hinder a police investigation. 

 

 

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Gunman 'likely dead' video

A house reportedly belonging to the gunman could be seen on fire from outside the cordon.

Police say gunman who shot dead two women in rural Northland is "very unlikely" to have survived after house went up in flames.

Seizures and deaths escalate video

Police seized 50 synthetic cannabis bags from a Ranui, west Auckland address earlier this week.

As an eight person dies related to synthetic cannabis use, police reveal large drug seizures.

Auckland rugby kicking ace heads south

Ponsonby's Willie Talataina-Mu will play rugby for Southland in 2017, pictured doing chin-ups at the velodrome training gym.

From Ponsonby to Invercargill for one of Auckland's top club rugby's top points scorers.

WWI memorial rescued

The Auckland War Memorial Museum will sit above the proposed WWI memorial.

Councillor booted off war memorial decision-making group as mayor Phil Goff takes over.

Wellington

Kiwi dies while walking in US

Hastings man Jonny Russell, 36, died unexpectedly in Colorado on Sunday.

Jonny Russell, 36, was walking along a footpath when he collapsed in Colorado.

Caught twice in a week

Caught drunk driving twice in a week he was both times more than four times the legal limit.

Driver caught more than five times over the limit was on his way to get more booze.

Council under 'urgent' investigation

Wellington City Council is being investigated by the Ombudsman over its failure to release information on the ...

Ombudsman probing Wellington City Council's refusal to release Shelly Bay info.

Drink driver charged over crash

Sione "Bah" Tuiano with his daughter, Anne, 5.

Man, 35, charged over crash which killed rugby man Sione "Bah" Tuiano.

Canterbury

The last person to see Michael

David Benbow outside his house in Halswell on Wednesday.

The prison guard at the centre of the missing builder inquiry has talked about when he last saw him.

More rain, snow ahead

The Heathcote River in flood on Saturday. More rain is expected in Christchurch.

Repeated storms hitting NZ are part of a bigger weather pattern that is not letting up yet, forecasters say.

City rents back at 2012 levels

Rents have been dropping in Christchurch for over two years.

Rents are continuing to tumble and are now back where they were five years ago.

Queues for hours video

Adrian Allen loads firewood into his vehicle at City Firewood. He had a big load delivered after Christmas but has burnt ...

Hundreds of people queued for hours to buy firewood as harsh wintry conditions loom.

Waikato

No sea, no problem for cup visit video

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton with year eight student Daniel Over, 14.

Grant Dalton stopped by on Wednesday to share the success with a Te Kauwhata school.

Creepy cop's betrayal

Sergeant Gregory David Waters, 53, appeared in Hamilton District Court on Wednesday after earlier being found guilty by ...

The police sergeant was there to teach self-defence but he indecently assaulted a vulnerable woman.

Waikato DHB boss a no-show

Waikato DHB chairman Bob Simcock is disappointed a "confidential human resource issue" was leaked to the media.

Waikato health boss goes on leave as questions remain over spending habits.

Driving eases family's struggle

Anita Annan, 4, suffers from a progressive illness affecting her nervous system.

When you're dealt a heart-breaking hand, sometimes little things make a big difference.

Taranaki

Saved with minutes to spare

The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust rescued two people who fell on Mt Taranaki on Tuesday.

Two tourists are alive because of a huge team effort to rescue them on Mt Taranaki.

Ombudsman weighs in

Lee Hurley's complaint about New Zealand Transport Agency delays in processing his service provider application is being ...

Driving trainer says he wants $100,000 compensation from Government department.

Digital doctor double-up

A week ago Patea had no doctor. Now there's two digital doctor services open.

Patea now has two virtual services offering medical help while the hunt for new GPs carries on.

Maori Land Court date for hapu

A hearing in the Maori Land Court will be held on August 10, involving the Ngati Te Whiti Whenua Topu Trust.

Ngati Te Whiti hapu members will appear before a Maori Land Court judge next month.

Manawatu

Crash metres from Plaza

Two cars crashed at a busy intersection outside the front doors of The Plaza on Wednesday afternoon.

Afternoon traffic disrupted by fender bender in Palmerston North.

Gorge health concerns

Another slip fell on the already-closed Manawatu Gorge road at the weekend.

As the ambulances drive over the top of the cliff, patients have to wait longer.

Closure an opportunity

The Manawatu Gorge is closed indefinitely.

A "significantly more resilient route" is expected if the gorge will never reopen.

Privacy complaints over emails

Christine Toms is disappointed her emails were being intercepted by Horowhenua District Council's chief executive.

Under-fire Horowhenua council could face privacy probe.

Nelson

10 underrated NZ towns

Paeroa should be world famous in NZ for more than L&P.

Motueka and Murchison feature on a list of towns worth your while.

Dying man fulfills wish

Doug Murcott and Sally Tolliday on their wedding day at the Nelson Tasman Hospice.

Doug Murcott loses his fight with cancer days after fulfilling his wish to marry his partner.

New direct flight route

Originair will offer direct flights between New Plymouth and Nelson from late-September.

Nelson and New Plymouth are to have a direct air link.

Anatomy of a shooting

Ford Hurinui who was shot by Police in Motueka on August 20, 2015.

Holding a shotgun and surrounded by police Ford Hurinui was "prepared to die".

Marlborough

Scoring a bullseye

Despite badly injuring her hand six months ago Shannon Campbell has been selected to play at the Australasian Championships.

A darts player left with a horrific injury to her hand has beaten the odds to become one of New Zealand's top players.

Cycle trail will happen - advocate

A cycleway will run along the edge of this damaged stretch of SH1, just south of Ohau Point, as part of $231 million of ...

Government chips in to build stretch around Ohau Point, deemed the most difficult section.

Time to fix 'scary' highway

The section of State Highway 6 from Okaramio to Havelock is the most dangerous stretch on the Blenheim to Nelson road, ...

The road from Blenheim to Nelson has claimed 12 lives in 10 years. Now it's a priority.

Boat ramp back in action

Now the slipway has been excavated, it takes the Coastguard boat Kaikoura Rescue half the time to respond to an emergency.

Eight months post-quake and the Coastguard Kaikoura ramp at South Bay has been officially re-opened.

South Canterbury

More rain and snow on way

Federated Farmers meat and fibre president Miles Anderson has advised farmers to be prepared for the predicted bad weather.

Farming leader questions how much more rain water-logged soil can handle.

Infected cows must go

Labour spokesman for primary industries Damien O'Connor is calling for all the cows on the property where Mycoplasma ...

The 150 stricken cattle on a South Canterbury farm should be put down, MP says.

Luxton to meet with ECan

Rangitata Labour Party candidate Jo Luxton.

Labour candidate to push ahead with efforts to have ECan change woodburner policies.

Council hotly denies claims

A smoky chimney in Timaru.

ECan shoots down claim by former policeman it could be caught by peeping tom rule.

Southland

Resident wants to beautify wharf

Bluff resident Cherie Chapman stands near the closed Bluff Wharf which she wants to see it beautified and made open to ...

Bluff resident Cherie Chapman has put her case to the Bluff Community Board to restore the old Bluff wharf and return it to the public.

Let sleeping seals lie

The seal is believed to have travelled up the nearby Waiau river, and was found about 10kms from the sea.

DOC is asking the public to trust its judgement when it comes to dealing with wild animals.

MPI proposing changes

10082016. News.Kavinda Herath. Southland Times/FairfaxNZ-Uplift of oysters to tanker in  Big Glory Bay, Stewart Island today

MPI is hosting a public meeting about proposed changes to the aquaculture industry.

Coroner reminds hunters of gun safety after death

Cromwell man Garry Tall, 61, was killed in a hunting accident on the Old Woman Range in March 2016.

Cromwell man Garry Tall was an experienced hunter but on March 3, 2016, he died after shooting himself in the stomach after a hunt.

Ad Feedback