Editorial: Thefts threat to tourism

By Mark Story


An ex-Brit's bike is stolen in Napier and torched.

Hardly the crime of the century. Hardly isolated to this province, or the provinces.

But therein lay two strokes of serious bad luck.

Firstly, the victim, Nigel Rushton, needed new wheels.

Secondly, and more importantly, of all the people to thieve from, the offender just happened to choose an experienced tour-guide author who will no doubt wax lyrical on the shortcomings of pedalling in the Art Deco city.

A tad unfair perhaps, wrong place wrong time, a crime of opportunity - but there's no doubt it's a slap in the face of our tourism industry.

In a recent column, Sir Bob Jones labelled the frequency of crime against tourists in this country "a scandalous national embarrassment".

As a solution he suggested legislating that crimes against tourists automatically yield double the maximum sentences.

I doubt anyone with the propensity to steal a bike and set fire to it would be au fait with maximum penalties, or be inclined to heed increases in said penalties. But his point is a valid one.

While this theft was less scandalous and far from the violent attacks he was referring to, such acts not only tarnish and embarrass, they damage. Given the region's struggling accommodation sector and our investment in the National Cycle Trails, this must be seen as a serious threat to the industry.

Victims of random crime don't make for good tourism ambassadors.

On the one hand, Rushton loved Napier's cycling scene and duly dubbed it "the cycling capital of New Zealand".

Thing is, I fear the written form of his damning praise may carry the same title as his email to this newsroom: "Paradise Lost".

- Hawkes Bay Today

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