Too Little, Too Late For Freedom Camping
The Tourism Minister’s recent announcement on new restrictions for freedom campers has caused confusion with his contradictions, and it will be too late to prevent more damage by freedom campers in the upcoming season, says National MP Maureen Pugh.
Pugh recently had her Freedom Camping (Infringement Offences and Other Matters) Amendment Bill voted down at first reading in Parliament, however she says there are some clear similarities between Tourism Minister Stuart Nash’s proposed legislation and hers.
“There are many similarities to mine and the Tourism Minister’s proposed legislation, but the key difference is that his does not go far enough to protect New Zealand from careless freedom campers,” says Pugh.
“Rural New Zealand needs more protection from tourists that are ill-equipped to clean up their own messes.”
Nash stated he would like to have a system in place before more borders start opening next year, however he doesn’t plan on introducing the proposed legislation in Parliament until February 2022.
“This would mean any new legislation would likely not be implemented until 2023.
“Summer is just around the corner and we are set to have another season of freedom campers leaving a trail of waste in their wake due to the government’s inaction on this.”
Earlier this year, regarding tourists in non-self-contained vehicles, Nash stated that “I don’t think it’s the sort of tourist that New Zealander’s want to see in our country”.
However Nash has now changed his stance, saying that “backpackers in budget vehicles are welcome”.
“The mixed messaging around freedom campers from the government will inevitably lead to further damage to our beautiful country,” says Pugh.