NZ police apologise to Irish after claiming tourist drove with kayak tied sideways on roof

Picture by NZ Police
Picture by NZ Police

Police in New Zealand have apologised to Irish people after making an unsubstantiated assumption about the nationality of a driver who they claimed had driven with a kayak strapped sideways on his car roof.

Initially District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said the visitor from Ireland was stopped on SH25A between Kopu and Hikuai on Sunday afternoon.

But after the story was reported across Ireland, police back-tracked.

In a later tatement, police admitted the officer who stopped the tourist had assumed the man was Irish because of his accent.

A police spokesman later revealed the man was not even believed to be a tourist, and was thought to live in Auckland and hold a New Zealand driver’s licence.

In the police statement, Waikato district road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace apologised to the Irish for any offence.

“While the man was a visitor to the region, he was not Irish and as a result Waikato police wish to offer an unreserved apology to any persons of Irish descent we may have offended.”

Mrs Grace said the man was not issued a ticket because he appeared to have a foreign accent.