Prime Minister John Key says the country's adventure tourism industry is doing its best to be as safe as it can be.
Mr Key, who is also minister for tourism, was responding to criticism from family members of two English tourists killed while taking part in thrill-seeking activities.
Englishman Chris Coker, whose son Bradley Coker was one of nine who died in a parachuting plane crash at Fox Glacier in 2010, says the industry is unsafe.
Emily Jordan's death while riverboarding near Queenstown in 2008 sparked rule changes about safety in the adventure tourism industry. Her father Chris says the rules are taking too long to come in.
Mr Key, who is in Queenstown to address the Trenz tourism conference, told reporters the country had to acknowledge the Fox Glacier deaths could have been prevented had aviation rules, since introduced, been in place at the time.
"All we can do now is try and honour the death of his son... do something to make sure we enforce those new regulations and avoid it in the future."
However, it was impossible to eliminate all danger from adventure tourism, he said.
Mr Key said Mr Coker was wrong in his numbers and his claims about the state of the industry.
The death was a tragedy and he sympathised with Mr Coker, but the government was committed to doing a better job.
"My fundamental view is that the industry is safe. For the most part it was safe. The vast bulk of operators have been safe... the rule changes we made were about eliminating the one or two rogues that tarnished the whole industry."
Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson defended the time frame for the rules to come in to effect.
By November 2014 it will be illegal to operate an adventure tourism business without being audited for safety and registered.
"It's a pragmatic, sensible time frame to allow the industry to, wherever it needs to, to actually get its mechanisms in place."The sector itself had responded on its own accord and many would be registered before the 2014 deadline, she said.
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