8 Jun 2015

Tourist's father praises NZ police

4:12 pm on 8 June 2015

The father of an American tourist allegedly attacked in Paihia last summer has thanked police and praised the New Zealand health system.

Two young men from Montana were allegedly mugged outside their backpackers' lodge in early January, leaving one of them with a broken jaw.

Northland police last week arrested and charged a Waitangi man with the assault after a lengthy investigation.

Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston said they're were helped by the CCTV cameras community group Focus Paihia had installed in the Kings Road area.

"The cameras are an excellent investigative tool," he said.

"They are a real deterrent as well - anyone thinking of this type of thuggery should consider themselves recorded and likely to get caught. "

Both victims of the Paihia assault received follow-up health care as they completed their New Zealand holiday, and are now back in the United States.

The father of one of the tourists, Pastor Brad Ulgenes, wrote to the police commending them for their diligence.

"We appreciate the time and effort ..... and thank you for your diligent service. "

He said the family was surprised and pleased their son had no medical bills for his treatment.

"We deeply appreciate it. We are envious of your health care for your people and even tourists. I wish Montana and the USA were as compassionate," he said.

A 21-year-old Waitangi man charged with assault has been remanded on bail.