Regulations are just words on paper. Only when the cowboys start taking their responsibilities seriously will we stop seeing people die participating in adventure tourism.

Draft regulations to improve safety in the commercial adventure tourism and outdoor education industries are now available for consultation.

Sitting under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, they will require all commercial adventure tourism and outdoor education operators in New Zealand who provide activities over a pre-determined risk level to be registered and undergo a safety audit.

The regulations set out the definition of an adventure activity and what’s required to obtain a safety audit and to become registered.

They won’t apply to organisations that don’t charge fees, such as schools or voluntary clubs.

The Department of Labour is working to develop the registration and safety audit scheme so that operators will be able to meet the regulations at a reasonable cost.

Consultation on the draft regulations is open until 9 August – with the regulations due to come into effect from 1 October 2011.

A three-year transition period will also be in place to ensure all operators are registered and audited.

Draft Adventure Tourism Regulations

The Consultation Process


It is a shame that some adventure tourism operators in the past have not complied with their responsibilities laid out very clearly in the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

In recent years, tragedies at Tongaririo, Queenstown and Palmerston North have forced the governments hand to write detailed regulations for adventure tourism operators, that clearly state how they should be functioning regarding health and safety.

Adventure tourism and now mines are two areas where New Zealanders would expect there to be extremely high standards of health and safety management because of the risks involved.

Sadly in many cases, reality has been quite the opposite and innocent lives have been the price paid.

So now we have ended up with yet more compliance hoops to jump through just because an irresponsible minority have behaved in a casual and dangerous manner. But that is the reasoning behind most compliance related laws. The majority are punished for the actions of a few.