Police, Tourism to work more closely

Wednesday August 16, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Tourists enjoy a scooter ride through Avarua. Police and Tourism say they will work together to solve continuing issues with the motorcycle drivers’ licencing process. 17081532 Tourists enjoy a scooter ride through Avarua. Police and Tourism say they will work together to solve continuing issues with the motorcycle drivers’ licencing process. 17081532

Following ongoing motorbike licencing issues and a recent complaint regarding licence testing, Police and Tourism say they will work closer together to solve issues faster, while balancing safety with visitor experience.

 

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt admitted there were areas of improvement for police to work on, especially when visitor growth continued to increase.

He said the tourism boom directly impacted on police efforts to ensure visitors were safe on Rarotonga’s roads.

The announcement that police and the Tourism Corporation will work together more closely follows a complaint made by two visitors last week regarding the motorcycle licencing test.

A couple wrote last week to Tourism and CINews to express their frustration after failing the seemingly basic theory test.

They claimed that after they asked police staff to confirm what part of the test they had got wrong, they were told they could not see their answers and were ordered to leave the station.

After persisting further, the couple convinced the officer to show them one of the questions they got wrong. It was: “When must you turn on your vehicle’s headlights?”

Their answer was: “From 30 minutes before sunset on day one, until 30 minutes after sunrise on the next day.”

They said in their letter the correct answer was, “From 30 minutes after sunset on day one, until 30 minutes before sunrise on the next day.”

The couple’s said at 30 minutes before sunset the island was almost dark at this time of year.

Pitt said the test was based on the New Zealand Department of Transport licencing questions.

And he says police stand by their decision to not show any leniency, or bending of the rules in testing when visitors’ safety on the island is paramount.

Pitt said a copy of the Cook Islands road code was available for tourists at police headquarters in Avarua for $20.

Visitors needed to understand Cook Islands roads were four times more dangerous than New Zealand’s, according to World Health Organisation statistics, which per capita, placed the Cook Islands at the high end for road accidents and fatalities, he added.

“He said only visitors who did not have a current motorcycle licence in their home country had to get a Cook Islands licence.

The couple’s complaint follows a wave of criticism against police from the tourism sector after licence costs more than doubled to $90 last year. The cost was slashed in June this year to the original $40, and the test booking appointment requirement was introduced recently.

Tourism Cook Islands chief executive Halatoa Fua, said he would work with Police Commissioner Maara Tetava and his team to discuss the future collaboration.

“While the mandate is from a police perspective, we will be providing advice on the best way forward for the tourism industry,” he said.

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