Since taking Polynesian dance, and becoming an avid Hercules/Xena fan, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve acquired a longing to see New Zealand, home of Maori dancers and stand in for Middle Earth. Imagine my shock when I read that Aviva, a British insurance company, recently rated the country as one of the riskiest in the world for travelers!
The survey, which solicited responses from 60,000 British tourists, ranked New Zealand number four in thefts, following Thailand, Africa and the Caribbean.
This is a 180 degree turn from a poll published last year that awarded New Zealand the top safety nation award.
“New Zealand appears to be developing a reputation for petty crimes and dodgy roads,” said David Carter, a member of New Zealand’s parliament and the National Party’s tourism spokesman.
In rebuttal, Fiona Luhrs, New Zealand’s Tourism Industry Association chief executive, said that while there had been some problems with car thefts in places such as Rotorua and in remote national parks, the police and the Conservation Department were looking at ways of dealing with it.
Damien O’Connor, New Zealand Tourism Minister, added that “The crime rate in New Zealand is at its lowest since 1992, and the road toll last year was half of what it was in 1990.Ã¢â‚¬Â
New Zealand also came in number 4 for road accidents, behind Thailand, South Africa and India.
For more information:
NZ rated risky for thefts and crashes
New Zealand voted safest tourist destination
Crime figures shame Rotorua
Welcome to NZ – a land of petty crime and dodgy roads