Saturday, May 4, 2013

New Zealand: Government's Position That New Zealand is Safe Needs to be Demonstrated, Not Reassured

This week a group of Britons had their vehicle and belongings stolen from the Abbey Caves in Whangarei, while over the Easter holiday three tourists at Paihia were attacked at knife-point. Additionally, a Canadian was also robbed in the Bay of Islands.

Troy Ashley Clement is also on trial at the High Court in Auckland accused of robbing two teenage German tourists at knife-point and sexually assaulting them. Clement has denied two charges of indecent assault, one of aggravated robbery and threatening to kill.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, since 2011, I have filed far too many postings on New Zealand, either because of exceptionally dangerous roadways or because of unchecked street crime, particularly for a country of only 4.5 million people.

Although New Zealand has done an incredible job of attracting tourists from all over the world to its stunning scenery, the reality is that an increasingly large number of tourists have been injured or killed while visiting the country.

New Zealand does have a crime and accident victim compensation program that exceeds the coverage of many countries, the fact is that police organizations in New Zealand, influenced dramatically by its small population, has not been particularly effective in reducing serious road accidents and interdicting crimes before they occur. 

As an example of the types of incidents that are occurring in New Zealand, I would urge our readers to do a posting search under "New Zealand" to identify the types of roadway and criminal threats that have been occurring over the last few years.

As you will see from such a search, for a small population country, the number of incidents have been substantial.

These incidents include a number of fatalities on New Zealand's dangerous roadways, where driving is on the "left,"not to mention criminal victimization that includes armed robbery, rape, assault, auto theft, carjacking and larceny.

I particularly discourage visitors from hitchhiking to get around, although many tourists continue to do it to save money. That being said, traveling in New Zealand is not typical of foreign travel in the 1960s. Tourists DO need to be cautious and careful.

My personal advice is for visitors to New Zealand to visit the country, which is extraordinary, all the time realizing that it is not a low-risk destination, despite its laid-back atmosphere. Although towns are generally small and quaint, that does not mean that one should leave their security awareness at home. If so,it is relatively easy to become a victim in New Zealand.