18 September 2006
New Zealand First is pleased that the Conservation Minister is to take drastic action to reverse the decline in the number of campgrounds, but fears that the horse has already bolted in some of our most popular holiday areas.
“The latest Lonely Planet travel guide on New Zealand had it right when it said that New Zealanders have always known that they live in paradise, but that now the rest of the world knows it too,” said Conservation spokesperson Doug Woolerton.
“This means that many also want to own a piece of paradise, which has helped to inflate land prices beyond the reach of ordinary New Zealanders, a state of affairs which New Zealand First has been warning of for years.
“The Minister’s consideration of the options available, such as opening up rural school grounds in summer, is a sad affirmation that the prime camping spots have already been snapped up, and that New Zealanders will have to look elsewhere for their camping holidays.
"Private property owners can’t be blamed for wanting to profit from their investments, but if it means that ordinary kiwis no longer have access to New Zealand’s popular holiday areas, then action needs to be taken.
“I hate to say I told you so, but if New Zealand First had been taken seriously on this issue years ago, we would not be in this position. As it is, I support the Minister’s attempts to salvage what he can, and sincerely hope that the kiwi camping holiday by the beach does not become a distant memory,” said Mr Woolerton.