Chris Jordan To Lobby Key And The Letterman Show Coup

For more about the trial and events following it see: Emily Jordan

Chris Jordan, father of Emily Jordan who drowned in a River Boarding ‘accident’ in New Zealand in April 2008 on Monday called for legislation to be introduced to govern river boarding in the country: (RadioNZ)

“Mr Jordan believes his daughter died because the industry was unregulated and Mad Dog River Boarding ran a “cowboy” operation.

He said resources must be found to govern the industry and called for stringent regulations introduced to stop another death from happening.

“It’s not acceptable to say (New Zealand’s) a small country, we don’t have the resource to do it – because you’re actually taking the money off individuals … who believe that it’s safe.

“So if you’re prepared to take the money, you’ve got to have the safety procedures in place.”

He has also stated he intends to lobby Prime Minister John Key (who is also Minister for Tourism) in order to

“highlight the need for “good quality legislation” to push for regulations to replace voluntary guidelines governing safety in extreme sports industries.When told that person was John Key, who is also the Prime Minister, Mr Jordan said he would be “the right person to talk to”.

Staff in Mr Key’s office said yesterday, when contacted, they could not comment on the issue, but Mr Jordan’s concerns would be “welcome”.

Well, at least Mr Jordan didn’t get the ‘Castle-Hughes brush off’. We wish him well in his is endeavour, he’s going to have an uphill battle on his hands.

PR and Spin

NZ is very conscious of how it is perceived abroad, it may well be that Mr Jordan may achieve more on the international stage than he will within NZ.

It will be interesting to watch how this is ‘spun’ from now on, if a tight lid will be put on it all and New Zealanders close ranks on this.

The director of ‘Mad Dog’ Brad Mcleod is already supposed to have requested that media questions be “directed to a public relations company and said he would decide over the next week whether he would make a statement”. So much for an industry that “can’t afford” to invest money in safety (Update : Mad Dog later changed its name to The River Boarding Co.)

South Island is presently holding the Winter Games NZ until 30 August and will be hosting the rugby world cup in 2011. Every effort is likely to be made to smooth out the adverse publicity this case has caused, more so because it’s been announced that the tourism minister (aka John Key, the Prime Minister) is going to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman to “sell New Zealand to worldwide tourism‘.

Is it just a coincidence that the ‘Mad Dog’ trial suddenly ended early with a plea bargain just 3 days before the triumphant PR announcement about the show was made? Call me a cynic but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if there had been some pressure to minimise any and all adverse publicity about tourism (there were two separate court hearings being held into deaths of young women in adventure sports in New Zealand) with the news about the Letterman show about to leak at any time. As they say, ‘timing is everything’.

Mad Dog later changed its name to

Other recent tourism related deaths (I won’t include injuries and assaults right now because there are so many so see below) include

British man Thomas Donaldson who died after sand surfing in the Far North.

Chinese tourist Yan Wang, who drowned in a river when she became trapped beneath a jet boat.

British backpacker Sarah Katie Bond who fell 50m to her death in Waitomo after losing control of a hired quad bike.

Six NZ students and a teacher from Auckland’s Elim College were swept to their deaths on a river canyoning trip in the Mangatepopo Gorge. (source NZ Herald)

In June 2009 Massey Univesity’s Dr Tim Bentley has said that the number of tourist adventure injuries in NZ rivals that of road injuries and that –

statistics mean New Zealand is on its way to being regarded as an unsafe destination. “In the US and Japan, people are already being advised not to come here because of the dangers. Tourism is our principal industry and these accidents are making a massive impact….

There’s also doubt about the ability of the Adventure Tourism industry to manage the risk to clients. “There are lots of small, unregulated companies out there with a seasonal workforce that comes and goes. There is also the danger that without the protection of ACC, people will start suing. In the US, travel companies have already been taken to court.”

See: ‘Tourist adventure injuries rival road injuries’