FCO issues safety warning for those travelling in New Zealand

With the Rugby World Cup set to start in seven days the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a set of guidelines for ensuring a safe trip.

These guidelines have been issued as statistics show that New Zealand has more than twice the number of road crash fatalities per 100,000 people when compared to the UK. This high rate of road crash fatalities is due to the vast number of collisions with sheep roaming the countryside and the long distances driven.  

Jeremy Browne, the minister for consular affairs, stated: “The English, Scottish and Welsh teams are busy preparing to ensure they are in ideal shape to take on the best in world rugby. British supporters should prepare for their trip to New Zealand in the same way to ensure they enjoy a trouble-free Rugby World Cup.

“Whether fans are planning on taking part in adrenalin sports or hiring a vehicle for a road trip, I strongly recommend that they check the small print of their travel insurance to ensure they are covered for everything they want to do. And people driving long distances should plan their journey carefully, including regular breaks, to avoid accidents.”

Warren Gatland, the Welsh rugby coach, originally from New Zealand, said: “New Zealand is a beautiful but vast country - it’s really easy to underestimate how long journeys can take so I’d encourage people to allow plenty of time to get to matches so you don’t miss a minute of the rugby or take risks on the roads.”

Travellers are also warned to adhere to the country's tight biosecurity laws, which mean that many items, including certain foods and wood products, cannot be brought in.

The FCO has provided the following tips for driving in New Zealand as part of their ‘Be on the Ball’ campaign:

  • Prepare for long distances between service stations in rural areas
  • Take care when driving at night: outside of towns there is little street lighting. Also look out for livestock wandering onto roads
  • Do not drink alcohol before driving in New Zealand. Drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced and random breathalyser tests will be carried out, including routes from international airports
  • In New Zealand an amber traffic light means STOP and the right of way rules are different from other countries. Read a copy of the Road Code (the official guide to traffic rules and traffic safety) before driving
  • Be sure to check with your insurance company that you're fully covered to drive abroad including breakdown recovery and any medical expenses resulting from an accident
  • You can send updates about your location and travel movements via your mobile in NZ by texting 7233 (SAFE). These details are kept on a central database which can be accessed by NZ Police if necessary
  • Listen to the games on the move! Radio Sport will be the official broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup