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Brexit and the British tourists

Opinion Piece

Britain was front and centre in the news this past week as embattled Prime Minister Theresa May faced two key votes, but in this country it was a group of visiting British tourists that captured the attention.

The family made television news after they left a pile of rubbish on Takapuna Beach and a string of upset accommodation providers, restaurateurs and retailers in their wake. Print media quickly joined in as the family became the target of something of a media posse.

The sight of a nine-year-old boy threatening to knock someone’s brains out and then giving the raised finger was a gift during the traditional silly season of the news cycle. The group refused to pay for hundreds of dollars worth of food at a restaurant after saying they found a hair in their food, and as they moved down the country one of the party was convicted of theft from a service station.

While some might question the wisdom of seeming to hound a dysfunctional family, on the street they were the talk of the town.

Brexit remains the big issue for Britain however as the departure date of March 29 looms ever closer with no deal in sight. Among those watching nervously are New Zealand exporters, including the wine industry — with key players expressing their concerns at a tasting in London last week.

The contentious issue of police car chases came to the fore again with the death of three teenagers who lost control of a stolen vehicle when it hit spikes placed by police in Christchurch.

Hackers had a field day with Christchurch-based cryptocurrency company Cryptopia, which reported a financial loss reputed to be $6m.

The departure of KiwiBuild boss Stephen Barclay was confirmed, compounding the headache this ambitious project has created for Housing Minister Phil Twyford and the Government.

The three large objects Nasa warned would speed close to the Earth in midweek seem to have missed, fortunately.

But even Brexit and the British tourists were pushed aside in the news cycle at the weekend when All Black Beauden Barrett married Hannah Laity at a Rakino Island retreat. It was a happy ending to another tumultuous week.