Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee is encouraging all New Zealanders heading overseas to register with SafeTravel.
SafeTravel was launched in 2006 and is the official source of advice for New Zealanders living or travelling overseas.
“The site also allows travellers to register their contact details and travel plans so we can reach out to them in case of an emergency or to provide them with updated advice,” Mr Brownlee says.
“While recent terror attacks have occurred in popular destinations for New Zealand travellers – such as London, Manchester and Paris – it’s a sad reality that such unprovoked incidents can happen anytime, anywhere.
“In the event of an incident overseas, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade can easily contact SafeTravel registrants to confirm their safety and wellbeing.
“Trying to find out information about unregistered New Zealanders is often difficult and takes time.
“MFAT was quickly able to contact registered Kiwis in London and Manchester after the recent terror attacks to offer information about consular assistance should they have required it.
“While it may seem obvious, I also want to encourage Kiwis travellers to phone home if they ever find themselves caught up in a major event.
“In the past year, there were almost 67,000 new registrants, bringing the total number to 148,312. Of those, more than 8320 registrants are currently overseas.
“I hope all New Zealanders heading overseas will take 10 minutes to register with SafeTravel and encourage others to do the same,” Mr Brownlee says.
Notes to editors:
In the 2016/2017 year, MFAT has worked on 2,178 consular cases, assisting 2,316 New Zealanders.
These cases have mostly been in South and South East Asian destinations.
Most of MFAT’s consular assistance is largely spent advising New Zealanders who break overseas laws followed by deceased holidaymakers, local immigration difficulties, Kiwis losing property, and those who have been victims of crime.
New Zealand has been providing consular assistance since our first Post opened in London in 1871.