1 Jul 2013

Tourist operators kicked off Dunedin wharf

10:19 pm on 1 July 2013

Dunedin's port company has banned tourism operators from the wharf after widespread complaints from cruise ship operators about cowboy activities and security concerns.

Port Otago is banning private operators from the wharf during cruise ship visits from next season after complaints from cruise lines.

Dunedin was the last wharf in New Zealand where private tour operators could drive on to tout for custom.

But Industry group Cruise New Zealand says it has had complaints from 11 cruise lines about harassment of passengers on the wharf and the security of open port access, which it says does not happen anywhere else in the world.

Chairperson Chris Harris says Port Otago had vetted the operators, but American cruise lines were asking questions about the safety of vehicles being on the wharf next to ships.

Mr Harris says Dunedin has rated high among the world's ports, but its reputation was at risk.

Problems have continued despite an accreditation system launched last year to vet operators. Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said very small number of operators abused the privilege of being on the wharf and the accreditation programme was unable to deal with that.

Mr Brown says the port company has decided that from October this year all tourist operators will wait outside the port's gates and the Dunedin City Council's information centre will handle booking and direct passengers.