Aussie govt won't back down on Christchurch warning
The Australian government is not backing down from a travel advisory warning its citizens to "exercise a high degree of caution" if visiting Christchurch - putting the garden city on a par with Rwanda.
The advice on its Smart Traveller website was last updated on March 19. There are no immediate plans to change it.
Yesterday, Canterbury Tourism said the warning put people off and was "unreasonable." Australian visitor numbers are down 20% over 2010.
Under an Additional Information tab on New Zealand, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns:
Aftershocks are continuing and may further damage infrastructure such as roads, bridges and power and water supply.
Australians in Christchurch and Lyttleton should exercise a high degree of caution because of damage to buildings, public infrastructure, and essential services caused by the series of earthquakes affecting the area. While damage is concentrated in the CBD, eastern and seaside suburbs of Christchurch, pockets of serious damage to buildings are present in other parts of the city.
Christchurch was hit by a magnitude 4.0 earthquake Friday July 2, and a magnitude 4.8 yesterday, Friday July 6.
The entry on New Zealand also contains a warning for Australians on the risk of travelling to Tauranga. It reads:
The MV Rena broke in two in the Bay of Plenty region on 8 January 2012. Australians visiting the area should monitor the Bay of Plenty District Health Board website for current health warnings.