25 Sep 2012

Judge wishes he could send drunken tourists home

6:26 pm on 25 September 2012

Calls to deport Queenstown tourists who appear in court on alcohol-related charges have been backed up by a district court judge.

Judge Kevin Phillips has told two French tourists he wished he had the authority to direct Immigration New Zealand to send them home.

The men appeared in the Queenstown District Court on Monday on separate alcohol-related charges.

Last week, Judge Dominic Flatley told the Queenstown court alcohol-related crime and disorder in the resort is tarnishing New Zealand's international image.

The Queenstown business community is becoming tired of the headlines about drunken antics in the resort and says it worries about the impression they are sending to the world.

Some want visitors sent home if they come up in court on alcohol-related disorder charges.

The owner of a backpackers, Tim McGeorge, says it's time the resort town sent a clear message to visitors that it is sick of dealing with the consequences of excessive drinking.

"If somebody does do something which is completely anti-social, and possibly in a violent way as well, they need to go."

The chair of the Hotel Council's Queenstown branch, Penny Clark, says hoteliers are becoming worried about the area's image and the judge is sending a message to visitors to control their behaviour.

However, tourism organisation Destination Queenstown says the media is hyping reports of drunks causing trouble in the town.