Release of royal tour itinerary slammed
Wednesday 2 Apr 2014 5:53 a.m.
By 3 News online staff
Organisers of the royal tour are defending the release of details outlining William and Kate's 10-day visit to New Zealand next week.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George arrive in the country on April 7.
The UK's Daily Mirror has quoted the former head of royal protection for the Metropolitan Police Dai Davies as saying he was "appalled" by tweets and notifications of the family's engagements.
Details of engagements such as travel arrangements have not been publicly released, but the Department of Internal Affairs' royal visit office has used official social media channels of the Governor-General to tell people where they can see the family.
Mr Davies says releasing a precise itinerary with locations, times and the best places to stand to catch a glimpse of the royal couple is like giving a "manual to 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 told the paper.
The Daily Mirror quoted him as saying the information was a "gift to terrorists", but speaking on Firstline this morning, Mr Davies admitted that he hasn't yet read the tweets.
"I haven't seen the Governor-General's tweets. I was interviewed yesterday by a newspaper that clearly published a great deal of what I said – some of it without my authority," said Mr Davies.
The department released a list of the various engagements the couple will be taking part in, including maps of where the best vantage points will be for the public.
"I don't know the intelligence structure and the system or the intelligence about anything in New Zealand – I merely express it's not the way I'd do it, and I have advised a great number of people on security and safety," says Mr Davies.
"I'm simply saying if people have said we've always done this, well it's new to me."
The royal visits office's media manager, Allen Walley, told the New Zealand Herald the release of the information was a 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."
Kensington Palace spokesman Nick Loughran confirmed the information release was sanctioned by the royal household.
"It is usual practice with royal visits to New Zealand to release details of where and when the public can see members of the royal family one week before the start of the visit.
"This is entirely consistent with previous Royal visits, such as the Diamond Jubilee tour in 2012."
Mr Davies says the royals are regularly targeted by "mad" people and "extremists" – including on visits to New Zealand.
"Back in 1981 a young man called Christopher John Lewis attempted, somewhat foolhardily, to shoot at the Queen when she was in a place called Dunedin, if I've pronounced that rightly," he says.
"Prince Charles was attacked in Australia, the Queen herself has been attacked numerous times on some of these visits, some that you know about, some people don't know about.
"But I've studied [the history of attacks on the royals] for the last 300 years. If you look at it, it's normally the fixated or the mad person who wants publicity… and when they do attack them, it's when they're going from one known place to another. That's my concern.
"I'm sure the security services in New Zealand are as good as anywhere… [but] I just think this is madness in today's climate."
The Duke and Duchess will match race on America's Cup yachts on Auckland Harbour, open the new Cambridge velodrome, coach rugby teams in Dunedin and jet boat on the Shotover River.