In New Zealand, where bodies still lie on a volcano after Monday’s eruption and survivors fill hospital burns units across the country to capacity, questions are mounting about who exactly was responsible for the safety of tourists on Whakaari or White Island, and how, if failings are found, who will be held accountable. Questions are also being asked about the wisdom of allowing tourists on to the island while it was assigned a volcanic alert level of two out of five, signalling volcanic unrest – a practice that has happened for years. But one thing that is already clear is that those hurt in the eruption will be prevented from bringing civil lawsuits in New Zealand against the tour companies who took them to the island, or anyone else. New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme, run by the government, covers the cost of all treatment for injuries sustained in New Zealand, including for foreigners. Its coverage, which the injured cannot opt out of, bars them from suing for negligence. Bill Hodge, a retired law professor at the University of Auckland, says the system of absolving operators from the threat of lawsuits had given rise to a “cutting-edge” adventure tourism industry in… Read full this story
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