Crushed car tourists offered $1400 for replacement

By Tracey Roxburgh of the Otago Daily Times

Nico Reiner (left) and Paul Zeller from Germany, say they are out of pocket after a tree in a Queenstown Lakes District Council park fell and crushed their car. Photo / Christina McDonald.
Nico Reiner (left) and Paul Zeller from Germany, say they are out of pocket after a tree in a Queenstown Lakes District Council park fell and crushed their car. Photo / Christina McDonald.

A travel specialist based in the Netherlands has offered to do what the Queenstown Lakes District Council would not - give two German tourists $1400, the cost of a car crushed by a Lombardy poplar in Queenstown on January 17.

Yesterday, the Otago Daily Times reported Paul Zeller and Nico Reiner, both aged 18, bought the 1994 Toyota for $1400 less than three weeks before the incident, taking out third party insurance.

It was parked on Lake Esplanade when the massive tree, estimated to be 120 years old, fell during high winds.

The tree clipped the Lakeside Motel, damaging a section of the roof and part of the balcony, a sign and six other cars.

An arborist determined the tree had been affected by white rot.

Mr Zeller said he was given $70 for parts, free towing and a free bungy jump, but was told the council had no responsibility and he should claim on his insurance.

Yesterday, Andrew Morten, of TravelEssence, a New Zealand travel specialist with offices in Germany, the Netherlands and Wellington, emailed the ODT offering the men the $1400 they were out of pocket.

''We imagine that a story like this can create lots of negative press for New Zealand, so a good solution is important.

''Thus, we would like to offer these guys the $1400 they are seeking from the council to buy a replacement car to get them back on the road.''

Mr Zeller could not be reached for comment yesterday.

- Otago Daily Times

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