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Chinese star takes New Zealand road safety message home

Xinhua | Updated: 2015-10-03 17:07

The New Zealand government on Tuesday welcomed a Chinese reality TV star's plea for tourists to take care while driving in New Zealand and his efforts to raise road safety awareness in one of the country's biggest tourist markets.

Huang Lei, the star of China's top reality show "Dad, where are we going?" appears in a five-minute Mandarin-language video on driving in New Zealand, which has just been released in China.

It was filmed in New Zealand during a visit in June and secured by the government's Tourism New Zealand agency.

"Huang Lei has the ability to reach a massive audience in China where he has over 20 million social media followers," Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett said in a statement.

"The benefit of using someone like Huang Lei is that he will get noticed and his genuine concern for the safety of his family and of others on the road sends a powerful message."

Huang Lei used his own words and style in the video, Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said in a statement.

He included things he considered critical for Chinese drivers to understand, such as the need to drive on the left side of the road, the need for caution on New Zealand's winding roads and to be careful to pull off the road completely before stopping to take photographs.

In June, the government announced that every visitor arriving from China was to receive a leaflet titled "Driving Safely in New Zealand."

The country's Tourism Industry Association and Rental Vehicle Association are also developing a code of practice for rental vehicle companies.

The moves follow a spate of serious injury and fatal accidents involving foreign motorists.

On June 9, Beijing man Jin Cao, 32, was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Ruby Marris, aged 5, and seriously injuring her parents and older sisters.

Cao was driving his car on the wrong side of the road when he collided with the family's vehicle in north Otago, in the South Island, during a visit in February.

In sentencing, the judge also ordered him to pay about 61,000 NZ dollars ($38,460) to the Marris family in reparations.

A record 310,000 Chinese tourists arrived in New Zealand last year and many are opting to self-drive.

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