More Government reviews will be cold comfort to Central Otago communities set to face another summer of freedom camping chaos, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.
“I’m hugely disappointed that Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and his Responsible Camping Working Group have squandered the opportunity to make any real difference around freedom camping this summer, instead leaving communities in the lurch.
“Months ago I highlighted to Mr Davis the seriousness of this issue, urging him to take action as soon as possible to help local communities struggling with errant freedom campers.
“Unfortunately he’s left things too late - the freedom campers will soon be on their way here and they won’t be waiting around for two years while the Government reviews the Freedom Camping Act, or the plethora of other rules and regulations suggested by its working group.
“International freedom campers visiting New Zealand have nearly doubled in two years, rising from around 60,000 in 2015 to about 110,000 last year – the numbers will increase again this summer and yet there’re no new options on how to cope with them.
“I acknowledge the efforts of members of the working group, but recognize that there’s only so much that they can do with a Tourism Minister that’s asleep at the wheel.
“National MP Anne Tolley’s Freedom Camping Bill shows a far better grasp of the issue and provides the urgent action local people want and need.
“It prohibits Freedom Camping more than 200 metres from public toilet facilities, provide more organisations with the right to restrict freedom camping, and provide for instant fines that have been issued to be collected by rental car companies.”