A visiting tourist who felt "misled and disappointed" by Picton's visitor guide has laid an unsuccessful complaint against the booklet's authors.

Picton's weather, water quality, tourist attractions and popularity amongst New Zealanders were all successfully defended against the complaint made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in February.

In his complaint, Peter Chapman took issue with several claims made in the Visit Picton tourist guide, saying it was "riddled with errors".

The ASA did not agree and the complaint was not upheld.


Amongst Chapman's complaints was a reference to the Queen Charlotte Track being 71km long not 70km long as stated in the guide, and the Edwin Fox not being the world's oldest merchant ship but "simply the hulk/hull of a wooden sailing vessel".

Chapman also claimed it was misleading to say Picton is fast becoming "a firm favourite with New Zealanders" and has "some of the best weather in New Zealand" and "New Zealand's most beautiful water environment".

"Where are the substantiations to prove the ['firm favourite' claim],' he asked.

"MBIE visitor spend statistics suggest otherwise."

Chapman said having taken his "avid old ship enthusiast" friends from Brisbane to the historic Edwin Fox ship, they were left sorely disappointed.

"We were misled and under whelmed. Put bluntly, we were misrepresented as to what we would be seeing.

"The Edwin Fox is in reality a nice small maritime museum in a mock English building together with the partial hull [hulk] of a wooden ship in a dry dock nearby," he wrote.

Chapman complained the historic ship and tourist attraction the Edwin Fox was not a ship at all, just a hull. Photo/ supplied
Chapman complained the historic ship and tourist attraction the Edwin Fox was not a ship at all, just a hull. Photo/ supplied

"The situation must be put right.


"I do hope that in future other visitors to Picton will not be so blatantly misled and left disappointed."

The ASA complaint was not upheld as the authority agreed the Visit Picton guide was not misleading and claims made by the guide's creators were substantiated.

Richard and Jane Briggs, who owned a business in Picton, put the guide together annually using funding from local businesses.

Richard Briggs responded to Chapman's complaints via the ASA, defending the pamphlet.

"The Edwin Fox is 100 per cent a ship and has been recognised as such, by the World Ship Trust. It is one of a handful of ships globally, to be awarded the World Ship Trust Award."

After all, he said: "If a person loses their arms and legs - they are still a person".

This was accepted by the ASA.

The ASA also accepted while there was some hyperbole in claims about the town's weather and water environment, "overall the claims made did not reach the threshold required to be regarded as misleading".

The authority agreed the claims made about the Edwin Fox ship had been substantiated and noted it has been recognised as a ship by the World Ship Trust.

The authority also noted the visitor guide had a photo of the hull of the Edwin Fox, which alerts potential visitors about what to expect.

It said the minor differences in the lengths quoted for the Queen Charlotte Track, both in the visitor guide and elsewhere, were not material.