Tourism NZ has confirmed a promotional video of New Zealand it commissioned with a popular American videographer has been indefinitely pulled off the internet after it featured a campervan driving on the wrong side of the road.
Deborah Gray, general manager of corporate affairs, told the New Zealand Herald this afternoon the future of the video remains up in the air after it was finally removed from YouTube this afternoon.
They have currently only had email conversations with the video's maker, Devin Graham, who is more commonly known as Devin Super Tramp, and wanted to chat over the phone before confirming whether it will stay online.
"Because it's Sunday night there we will seek to have a conversation about whether it's a re-post or whether it's essentially pulled tomorrow."
Meanwhile, one of New Zealand's biggest car rental companies, Hertz, is today vowing to change a photo on its website of a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road.
Hertz couldn't confirm how long the image had been on the home page of its website but New Zealand country manager Mark Righton says they get a lot of their pictures off their parent site, Hertz.com.
Mr Righton says it's the first time he's seen the image on its website.
"That's obviously come through from our global site ... we change our images quite regularly, obviously, so that's the first time I've seen that particular shot so our marketing department has obviously changed that and shuffled it through and obviously that's not a good one for Hertz.co.nz ... So, I will have a look at that and we will get that fixed considering the current environment and trying to keep people safe."
Mr Righton went on to do defend the picture, stating that its 'New Zealand Safe Driver Tips' were also on its home page, directly next to the picture.
"On that front page you've got the whole NZ safe driving tips right beside that image and clearly in that is all the information about driving safely in New Zealand and links through to drive safe and the top tips and keep left, but it's a good point, we just need to make sure that our images are in line with that ... It's probably a new campaign that came out on October 1. It's popped up and someone hasn't noticed that they've grabbed a slide from there."
Queenstown man Brentleigh Bond discovered Hertz's error this morning, the second he has found involving the company so far this year.
"It's just so easy to do isn't it, from their point of view, they get this stuff all done in the States and it comes out here and they just whack it in."
Mr Bond says it isn't a good look as there is a high crash rate in the Otago area.
It's the second time he has come across wrong driver safety information on its website.
Mr Bond says he also got in touch with the company and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss in January after it used a picture showing a view from the right hand side of the road looking straight ahead on its Safe Driving Tips New Zealand information page.
He received a response from Minister Foss in February who alerted him to the combined NZ Transport Agency and ACC, Visiting Drivers Signature Project, before suggesting he bring it to Hertz's attention.
"There was quite bit of publicity earlier this year about the high accident rate due to these crashes in this area over last summer, and I'd just rented a Hertz car in Auckland and I don't know why, but I thought I'd have a look through and thought 'gosh, this isn't right'. We've got all this press about these accidents that are caused by drivers on the wrong side of the road and here we are with a major rental car company showing the wrong picture, on their safety page. And now on their home page."
The picture on Hertz's safe driving tips was corrected earlier this year after being contacted by Mr Bond.
Tourism New Zealand's video featuring a campervan driving on the wrong side of the road has been viewed online more than 300,000.
The agency went into damage control last night as it scrambled to fix the blunder, which has been described as alarming and breathtakingly incompetent.
The video, produced by American social media videographer Devin Super Tramp and his team, is dubbed New Zealand - The Ultimate Road Trip.
It has chalked up hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook and YouTube.
Taxpayers funded the online adventurers around Aotearoa for two weeks in January, providing flights, accommodation, rental vehicles and exclusive access to the country's top tourists spots including Hobbiton.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said yesterday the agency would never endorse anyone driving on the wrong side of the road and when it found out about the gaffe on Friday it requested the footage be pulled down or fixed immediately.
The man who spotted the error, who did not want to be named, said while the video itself was fantastic, he was stunned to see a campervan travelling in the right-hand lane of a scenic highway near the start of the five-minute video.
The man said he wrote about the mistake on Tourism New Zealand's Facebook page to which he says it responded, "It's a camera trick, the campervan was on the left-hand side but the imagery was flipped."
"So not only did they completely miss the point, they intentionally put the van on the wrong side of the road.
"It does make Tourism NZ look really silly."
AA spokesman Mike Noon said it sounded like a mistake had been made, but he'd like to see it rectified as soon as possible.
"I would have thought they would have been very careful on those things; normally they are. It seems to me like someone's made a mistake and it should be fixed... there's a very small chance that it could cause a problem. I'm sure they'll fix it."
Mr Bowler said the botch-up happened during the video's production process; the makers flipped the image for "artistic reasons".
"As soon as we found out about it we realised how significant it was and how stupid it was... then we discovered that he wasn't driving on the wrong side of the road, he just turned the film around because artistically he wanted it to look the way it looks."
Mr Bowler said Tourism New Zealand "assisted" Devin Super Tramp and his team to come to New Zealand to produce the content in the hope that it would promote the country.
Head-on 'was unavoidable'
On December 28, 2011, Myles Morris and his father David were travelling north past Lake Moeraki at Haast.
Coming the other way, German tourist Mathias Mandlmeier was driving his Wicked Camper on the wrong side of State Highway 6.
Both vehicles swerved to avoid a collision but Mandlmeier, used to driving on the right, swerved back into the Morris' path. Mr Morris Snr, 82, died on the side of the road.
Mandlmeier's partner, European tourist Kerstin Fromert, was also killed.
Myles Morris told the Herald yesterday the head-on was unavoidable. He was saddened to see the promotional video of a campervan driving on the wrong side of the road.
He said rental companies must equip vehicles with information for tourist drivers.