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Government funding for freedom camping should not be used in direct competition with private camping ground operators, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“The Queenstown Lakes District ($530,000), and the Mackenzie and Waitaki Districts ($548,000) secured support from the $8.5 million freedom camping funding in 2018 and now the Government has made similar funding available this year.

“But I’m concerned that some of the issues which surfaced last year will happen again in 2019 unless appropriate community consultation occurs.

“Free camping hubs, established by councils using Government funding to reduce freedom camping impacts actually ended up affecting the viability of some local camping grounds.

“Camping ground operators, including those at Hawea, Luggate and Lake Wanaka outlet, all expressed concern at lost revenue because of the Government-funded hubs.

“I think it’s important that councils make application for this funding, but that they do so after thorough community consultation in terms of where they might locate future camping hubs within their districts.

“More investment in policing of the hubs is another important issue, with local camping operators reporting that Government-funded hubs were often over-full with a range of vehicles, including those that were not fully self-contained.”

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