New Zealand plans to strengthen its safety regulations for adventure tourism in the wake of a review into the Whakaari White Island volcanic eruption.
White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano, lies 48 kilometres offshore from Whakatane, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Last year, 47 people were sightseeing on the privately-owned island when the volcano erupted on December 9. The eruption left 22 people dead and 25 with serious injuries.
A review of the country’s adventure activities regulations after the “terrible event on Whakaari” found room for improvement, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood said in a statement on Friday.
It found the current standards could be improved to help operators better identify and manage natural hazard risks.
The review found there should be better communication between operators, staff and participants to ensure all are aware of the risks they face, as well as better auditing systems.
More work to identify how the government could improve safety standards would be carried out in early 2021, he said.
Wood also announced an independent review into Worksafe, New Zealand’s primary health and safety regulator, and its actions in relation to the eruption.
The review will cover a five-year period, from November 2014, when the adventure activity regulations were fully in place, to the day of the eruption, December 9, 2019.