Pipe-busting tourists seek diversion

Two backpackers who allegedly flooded five Queenstown businesses when the pipe they were swinging on broke are seeking diversion.

The pair were granted interim name suppression when they appeared before a registrar in the Queenstown District Court yesterday afternoon.

The British man and woman were arrested after allegedly swinging on a sprinkler pipe at Nomads Backpackers, Church St, in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

It burst, sending hundreds of litres of water gushing through the budget hostel and down into businesses Cup and Cake, Devil Burger, Below Zero Ice Bar and Cowboys Bar.

Both tourists were charged with intentional damage.

The case was adjourned until Monday by the registrar, as they are eligible for diversion.

They are due to attend the Queenstown police station to talk to an officer.

Senior Constable Chris Blackford, of Queenstown, said the total repair bill for the affected businesses could be a six-figure sum.

Business owners say they were also left thousands of dollars out of pocket on what should have been one of their busiest retail days of the year.

The pipe burst shortly after 4am as the intoxicated pair danced on tables, Snr Const Blackford said.

The incident triggered the fire alarm, to which the Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade responded. Volunteers shut off the sprinkler system.

The budget hostel's 383 guests and staff were evacuated and five rooms flooded, with the common room receiving the most damage.