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Investigation into adventure tourism launched

A letter from a grieving father has sparked a Government investigation into safety standards in the adventure tourism industry.

Prime Minister John Key said the letter from the father of drowned English tourist Emily Jordan had urged him to better regulate the sector.

Ms Jordan, 21, drowned in Central Otago's Kawarau River in April last year after being trapped underwater for 20 minutes while riverboarding.

Queenstown's Mad Dog River Boarding was last month fined $66,000 and ordered to pay $80,000 in reparation to the Jordan family after admitting two Health and Safety in Employment Act charges.

Mr Key said he believed most in the sector operated well, but there were concerns that there were some cowboys and that safety standards were not being monitored.

The investigation would involve a number of departments and ministers would report on the state of the sector and whether any changes would be needed.

"Tourism is critically important to New Zealand and we must do all we can to ensure visitor safety," Mr Key said.

Ms Jordan's father, Chris, said safety investigators only looked into problems after accidents.

Mr Key said Ms Jordan's was not the only fatality in recent years and while the vast majority of tourists had a safe and exhilarating experience, he could not ignore the concerns raised.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson would lead the investigation.

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