Adventure activities regulations finalised

  • Kate Wilkinson

New regulations governing the commercial adventure tourism and outdoor education industries have been finalised and will take effect from November 1.

Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson says while the majority of organisations within the industries already have safety as a top priority, the regulations will ensure consistency across operators and strengthen our international reputation.

“We want to ensure operators remain viable and innovative and these regulations have been designed to do that, while addressing safety gaps identified in the Adventure Tourism Review to help keep New Zealanders and overseas tourists safe,” says Ms Wilkinson.

“Our focus is on activities where hazards need to be actively managed and at the end of the day no operator can afford not to invest in safety.”

Sitting under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, the regulations require commercial adventure tourism and outdoor education operators in New Zealand who provide activities that are designed to deliberately expose participants to a managed risk of serious harm to undergo a safety audit and become registered.

They don’t apply to organisations that don’t charge fees, such as schools or voluntary clubs.

“We recognise that it will take time for some operators to become audited and registered and that’s why we’re putting in place a three-year transition period from November to ensure all affected operators can comply,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“The Department is working to ensure the audit process is robust but also affordable for operators – registration will be automatic once operators have been audited.

“Early next year the Department will be issuing a guidance document for operators to help them understand the regulations.

“For now, all operators have to do is notify the Department about their operation – this is not the registration process – but a simple notification of your activity or organisation.

“This applies to all operators. I recommend that those operators who are unsure whether their activity or organisation fits into the scope of the regulations also notify the Department of their operation.”

Operators have six months to notify the Department online or via fax, post or email. The Department will then be in touch with each operator to let them know whether they need to meet the regulations, or if they do not apply.

A copy of the regulations is available at: