According to the NZ Herald
, there is sufficient evidence to support mandatory drug testing in the adventure tourism industry after a report released today found the pilot in a fatal balloon crash had cannabis in his system
Although the drug has not yet been directly linked to the hot air balloon disaster which claimed 11 lives on Saturday, 7th January this year the revelation comes one day after the release of a report into a fatal plane crash at Fox Glacier in 2010 which revealed that two commercial skydivers on board had cannabis in their systems.
There is currently no legal requirement for random drug tests on the likes of hot air balloon pilots or skydivers and the the NZ Herald reports the findings have "prompted a safety recommendation to the Transport Ministry urging the introduction of a drug and alcohol detection and a deterrence regime for people employed in safety-critical transport roles".
The call should be taken seriously. Digital Journal reported on research published in the Lancet
earlier this year which found that Australians and New Zealanders are the world's biggest users of marijuana and amphetamines
Their findings say that on a per capita basis the region has the highest use of these drugs on the planet. In the study year 2009, 9.3 to 14.8 percent of New Zealanders and Australians used marijuana.
The NZ Herald reported that Prime Minister John Key said mandatory drug testing in the adventure tourism industry looked likely to be necessary. He has asked Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson to look into it, while Wilkinson reportedly said she would prefer the industry take it up voluntarily before legislation to make it mandatory.