Greater education not greater restriction is the key to making our roads safer for tourists and kiwis alike, the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) says.
Knee-jerk calls to limit the ability of tourists from some countries to be able to drive in New Zealand is not the answer to incidents of visitors driving dangerously, as they could cause long-term harm to the industry, MANZ Chief Executive Michael Baines says.
“So many visitors to New Zealand drive themselves, and our tourist industry has structured itself to accommodate this. Of course we want everyone to be as safe as possible on our roads, but limiting the ability of tourists to self-drive would not be the answer,” Mr Baines says.
“To address issues of poor driving education must be the key. We need to work with tourists, both those that hire cars and those that buy vehicles for the duration of their stay. We should make sure we provide information about driving in New Zealand in their own language, and make it easy for them to have their questions answered.”
This includes both information about the road code and warnings that New Zealand’s roads can be narrow, windy and unsealed with limited ability to pass.
There has been some discussion that restrictions should apply to drivers from certain countries, but Mr Baines warned that New Zealand should stay well away from considering any form of discrimination.
“New Zealand is a place people want to visit because they can jump in a car and take off to any part of the country they want. Let’s not endanger this by considering putting barriers in their way.”