Labour’s tourism spokesman Kelvin Davis has been swift in issuing a strong rebuke as part of a damage limitation exercise following the knife point robbery and assault of three Chinese tourists in Northland. At least we’re not seeing the usual ‘isolated incident’ comment trotted out, so some credit to him for that.
Time to get tough on the causes of crime. Want to send out a really strong message to the community? catch those responsible and impose stiff sentences. In the meantime launch a honest campaign to warn visitors about the risks present in NZ so that they’re not sitting ducks – savvy consummers are nothing to be afraid of. A false image makes visitors vulnerable, use incidents like these to highlight the dangers and tell people they need to be as street-wise in NZ as in any other Western country with a high crime rate.
The attack took place at Te Paki, at the foot of 90 Mile Beach a popular tourist location about 100 km away from the campsite at Ahipara where French Tourist Anthony Cressend was beaten up shortly after arrival.
Other recent high profile attacks in the region have included at least 2 sex attacks attacks at Haruru Falls near Paihia in the Bay of Isands – one an horrific sexual assault on a 27 year-old English tourist and the other a young Dutch couple on their honeymoon who were raped, assaulted and robbed kidnapped by men posing as police officers.
Keith Anthony McEwen, 30, and Christopher Mana Manuel, 27, the men who kidnapped and robbed the Dutch couple at Haruru Falls whilst posing as police officers were only sentenced to 10 and 6 year non parole periods respectively.
McEwen had previous convictions for a $300,000 burglary at the Kelly Tarlton museum in Waitangi, aggravated robbery, firearms and various other theft and dishonesty offences. Was his sentence sufficient for a repeat offender, should a three strikes and you’re out rule be adopted in New Zealand? unfortunately the country already has the ‘second highest imprisonment rate in the Western World.‘ the majority of it for Violence, Sexual and Property Crimes.
At Whangarei Falls two American men Patrick Dykstra and Kelsey McGinley were sleeping in what they thought was a safe location when 4 men dragged them from their vehicle beat them up and robbed them.
“The Far North community must send a strong message that it won’t tolerate the type of cowardly attack experienced yesterday by three Chinese tourists near Te Paki, says Labour Tourism Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.
The three tourists who stopped to assist two men they believed had broken down were set upon in an abhorrent ambush
“The incident has left the group shocked and stunned, and is another in a string of attacks on tourists in the Far North over the last few years. Their faith in New Zealand has been shattered,” Kelvin Davis said.
“These idiots just don’t seem to realise that our culture tells us to care for our manuhiri not bash them, or that they are stuffing things up for family and friends involved in Northland’s tourism industry.
“Someone will know who these guys are or would have seen their red or maroon station wagon with fishing rods sticking out the windows. Someone up North will know them, and for the sake of maintaining New Zealand’s reputation in the eyes of both these and other tourists, the police need to be informed of their whereabouts.
“Tourism is New Zealand’s biggest export earner. One in ten New Zealanders are employed because of the tourism industry, and it is vital in the job-poor North.
“The number of Chinese tourists visiting New Zealand has dropped significantly over the last year because of the global recession and the swine flu pandemic. We need to encourage more tourists to visit New Zealand and the Far North, so we can support our families and friends to make an honest dollar through the opportunities tourism presents.
“We can do that by demonstrating manaakitanga to manuhiri and by speaking out strongly and forcefully against those who disrespect this tikanga,” Kelvin Davis said.”