Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) is pleased with the government’s announcement of new ways to ensure that freedom camping is conducted in a manner that respects the local communities and the environment.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash, made the announcement at the QLDC’s newly revamped Frankton Campground on the shores of Lake Whakatipu.
Jim Boult, the mayor of Queenstown Lakes District who was also at the event, said that responsible campers are always welcome in the area; however, he acknowledged that legislative changes were needed to stop an ongoing pattern of abuse by a minority.
“Our main concerns related primarily to the use of vehicles without fixed toilet facilities. To make matters worse, they had such a low value that they were often dumped in our district at the end of their owners’ journey. Disposing of these vehicles created extra work and a major cost for local ratepayers,” Boult said.
“I’m very pleased Minister Nash has addressed this by confirming that only vehicles with on-board facilities can be certified for overnight camping outside specific areas that will include campgrounds and campsites. Not only will this ensure that freedom camping takes place in vehicles that are fit for purpose, these vehicles are likely to have a significantly more resale value so they won’t be dumped in our backyard,” he added.
Boult also expressed that the district has a wide offering of quality commercial holiday parks as well as council-and-DOC-owned campgrounds which will cater for those without certified vehicles or who choose to take advantage of their extra facilities.
The mayor also added that he is pleased to see that the ability for Kiwis to camp in tents and enjoy the same outdoor experience that he grew up with has been protected.
QLDC has been a part of the nationwide Responsible Camper Working Group, which is providing feedback to the government to shape the new legislation.
“There has been a productive dialogue between all parties to get to this point. This is sensible policy and the minister should be congratulated. If I have one further wish, it would be for the Central Government to continue funding for camping ambassadors which have proved very beneficial in educating campers so many problems of the past were minimized,” Mayor Boult ended.