New adventure tourism drug and alcohol rules

  • Christopher Finlayson
  • Gerry Brownlee
Transport Labour

New rules come into force tomorrow requiring all adventure tourism operators to strengthen how they manage drug and alcohol-related safety risks in their operations.

“I welcome these tougher rules with the knowledge that tourists and New Zealanders alike will have greater assurance about the safety of adventure activities,” says Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Acting Labour Minister Chris Finlayson says the new requirements will reduce risk and also help protect New Zealand’s reputation as a tourist destination.

“This is a strong message to adventure tourism businesses that risks associated with drug or alcohol impairment must be taken seriously,” Mr Finlayson says.

The changes to the rules and regulations create an explicit requirement for operators to manage safety risks associated with drug and alcohol impairment.  Operators will then have their drug and alcohol management programme checked as part of regular external safety audits.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Maritime NZ (MNZ) have an existing programme of regular safety audits covering adventure aviation operators, jet boat and rafting operators respectively.  The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which covers most other adventure activities, will implement a similar safety audit programme in 2013.

MBIE has issued new guidance for managing drug and alcohol impairment, including what is appropriate, how to monitor and how to respond.  This is available at

“These rules are flexible enough that adventure tourism operators can put in place measures appropriate for their business, however the crucial thing is every operator will have to demonstrate why their procedures are appropriate,” Mr Brownlee says.

The CAA and MNZ carried out consultation in October and copies of the amended rules (Maritime Rule Part 82 and Civil Aviation Rule Part 115) can be found on their websites and