UK tabloids fume over royal tour details

Prince William will be in New Zealand next week. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Prince William will be in New Zealand next week. REUTERS/Toby Melville

New Zealand officials organising next week's royal visit have rejected reports by British media that publicity for events during the tour gives a "manual for terrorists, nutters and fixated people hoping to harm them".

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their 8-month-old son Prince George will spend 10 days in New Zealand from Monday.

UK media yesterday quoted former Metropolitan Police head of royal protection Dai Davies saying he was "appalled"by tweets and notifications of the family's engagements.

The royal visit is handled by the Department of Internal Affairs' royal visit office, and staff have used the official social media channels of Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae to tell New zealanders where they will be able to see the young family.

Information includes locations, times and the best place to stand to catch a glimpse, as well as maps of the routes they will take when meeting the public in various cities and town centres.

Details of private engagements and travel arrangements have not been publicly released.

A Daily Mirror story yesterday quoted Mr Davies as describing the information as a manual for terrorists, "nutters and fixated people"hoping to harm them.

"I'm appalled at the idiocy of any idiot who would publish this far in advance both route and location," he said.

"I find it almost unbelievable someone would do this. It's a manual and it goes against anything I believe in. Appalled is the word."

The tabloid called the information "gift to terrorists"in its headline, and the Daily Mail followed suit, describing the notifications as a "manual for terrorists"that "could leave the couple at risk of an attack by terrorists or stalkers".

The royal visits office's media manager, Allen Walley, said the announcements were the result of months of planning and did not breach any regulations.

"There is no problem with it, all of this was planned well in advance, it was signalled to Kensington Palace and it was cleared with New Zealand police."

Although social media had advanced in recent years, giving public notification was business as usual for royal visits.

"Sending out the routes and public meeting places and so forth has been the norm with every royal visit to New Zealand for the last 30 years."

The Duke and Duchess will meet the public in Wellington, Blenheim, Auckland, Hamilton, Cambridge, Dunedin, Queenstown and Christchurch.

- Morgan Tait of the New Zealand Herald

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