Sky Tower incident probe sought by Labour

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2013

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The Government must step in to make sure New Zealand's reputation as a top tourist destination is not damaged, Labour says.

This was said on the anniversary of the Carterton ballooning tragedy and just days after a man threatened to jump from the Sky Tower. Neither hot air ballooning nor the tower's SkyWalk are covered by new adventure tourism regulations.

The regulations developed out of a review of the industry which was sparked by British father Chris Jordan, after his daughter Emily died while riverboarding in 2008.

Outdoors New Zealand and the Tourism Industry Association are charged with implementing the five recommendations to come out of the review, including creating a safety guide and strengthening safety management. The recommendations are due to be in place by 2014.

Outdoors New Zealand chief executive Garth Dawson said the balloon crash and the incident at the Sky Towerwere not covered by the review or resulting regulation.

Nor should they be, he said. "It wouldn't change anything, in fact it would probably cost a lot of money and make a lot of work, probably to the same end."

Both incidents were covered by separate regulation and there was no "significant benefit" in bringing them under adventure tourism rules, he said.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern said there was a fine line between being overzealous and exercising caution.

She wanted a government body to investigate how a mental health patient managed to walk along a 192-metre-high Sky Tower platform over the weekend.

"I think the appropriate response should still involve a government department taking an interest because adventure tourism, and tourism generally, is so important to the New Zealand economy."

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