A French tourist has admitted three driving charges after a serious crash at Awakino last month that left six injured.
Stephane Yuan Mazerat, 29, admitted three charges of dangerous driving causing injury to three people on State Highway 3 at Awakino on January 5.
Six people were injured including two children and Mazerat's partner who was left in a critical condition.
Mazerat suffered a serious leg injury and was wheeled into the Hamilton District Court this morning when he admitted the charges.
Mazerat was convicted by Community Magistrate Ngaire Mascelle and ordered to surrender his passport by 4pm tomorrow.
He was remanded on bail to attend a restorative justice conference before reappearing for sentencing on March 5.
Otago tourist drivers appear in court
Five overseas drivers appeared in Otago courts yesterday after a weekend of death and injury again focused attention on tourist driving on southern roads.
The five included a Chinese tourist who appeared in the Dunedin District Court charged with dangerous driving causing the death of a 5-year-old girl on Saturday.
In Queenstown, two Chinese men and an Indian man were convicted of driving dangerously, fined and banned from driving on New Zealand roads.
Queenstown police caught and charged the three tourists within three and a-half hours on Sunday.
Another Chinese tourist admitted careless driving causing injury to three other tourists and was remanded on bail to reappear in the Queenstown District Court for sentencing on March 9.
Police yesterday released the name of the child who died when two vehicles collided on State Highway 1 near Moeraki on Saturday.
She was Ruby Jay Marris, of Oamaru. In the Dunedin District Court yesterday, a 32-year-old Beijing resident was given name suppression - after his lawyer argued the man was concerned for his safety - and bailed to an Auckland address.
The man, who showed no emotion during the hearing, left covering his face with documents, while a media pack attempted to take his photograph.
The man's lawyer, Michael Kan, of Auckland, applied for interim name suppression and a ban on publication of any photographs of the defendant before his next appearance in the Dunedin District Court.
Mr Kan told justice of the peace Ashley Broad the defendant was aware he was accused of causing the death of the girl, and was very concerned about his own safety.
The man faces five associated charges of dangerous driving causing injury to Tristan Guy Marris, Kimberley Louise Marris, Sophie Marris, Georgia Marris and Hoo Li Jian.
Prosecutor Adrian Cheyne did not oppose bail until the defendant's next appearance on March 13 but asked for strict conditions.
The man entered no plea and was remanded on bail to an Auckland address.
He must surrender his passport and driver's licence, is not allowed to drive and must not try to leave New Zealand.
The re-emergence of the issue of tourist drivers on New Zealand roads coincides with a meeting being held today on a plan for a rental car industry blacklist system for drivers whose rental contracts have been cancelled.
Contacted yesterday, NZTA southern regional director Jim Harland pointed to amended rental vehicle agreement forms; increased communication between rental car companies; a website dedicated to tourist driving in New Zealand; bus advertising; and the introduction of removable steering wheel tags with safety messages - launched in Queenstown last year - as efforts to address the problem.
''Quite a lot is happening,'' Mr Harland said.
More would be done to learn further details of crashes like those at the weekend, including the country of origin of drivers, locations and patterns.
That information could be used to make roading improvements such as rumble strips in the centre of the road, and increasing the number of lay-bys and keep-left signs.
Staff would be looking at data in the next two months, a finding would come back and ''we will hopefully have some money in the highways budget to make a difference, or the local road budget''.
Asked about driver testing for tourist drivers, Mr Harland said that was a matter for policymakers.
Rental Vehicle Association (RVA) chairman Barry Kidd said he was meeting, along with the Tourism Industry Association, local rental operators in Queenstown today.
The meeting would look at implementing a Queenstown trial of a proposed regional information-sharing network - known in the media as a ''blacklist''.
The list would involve rental companies sharing the names of drivers with cancelled contracts, and agreeing not to allow them to rent a car.
''We're looking at the people who are the most risky overseas drivers, have had a vehicle taken off them on the recommendation of the police, and we certainly don't want them to get back behind the wheel of a car - not while they're in New Zealand anyway,'' Mr Kidd said.
''We're floating it with local operators tomorrow.''
Depending on their willingness to participate, the RVA would operate the system to make it work.
The local operators ''need to own it'', Mr Kidd said.
National operators had already indicated they would ''put their weight behind it''.
Mr Kidd said drivers had their contract cancelled after they had been pulled over by police, or after multiple *555 calls, and police contacted companies.
Nationally, one or two drivers had contracts cancelled each week, out of about 100,000 contracts a month.
- David Loughrey, ODT