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Important Changes Needed To Freedom Camping Bill

National has pulled its support for the Self-Contained Motor Vehicles Legislation Bill until the Government treats all responsible freedom campers fairly, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“The Bill, as drafted, restricts freedom campers unless they have a fixed toilet in their vehicle. But the problem is not the type of toilets campers have – it’s whether or not they use them.

“Unless it’s re-drafted, this measure will unfairly punish the many responsible New Zealanders who have suitable non-fixed facilities, and use them regularly. It will impose unreasonable costs and unnecessarily restrict recreational activities.

“National supports stronger regulations for freedom camping. However, Labour’s decision will unfairly penalise almost 70,000 responsible campers, without stopping those who are polluting campsites.

“This legislation has been poorly drafted and needs fixing. Labour should not misuse its Parliamentary majority to pass a poorly-written law that will unfairly restrict thousands of responsible campers.

“Under this proposed law, a camper with a fixed toilet who doesn’t use it will not be breaking the law, yet a camper who uses a non-fixed toilet will be fined. This is crazy.

“Freedom campers should have to have a suitable toilet, and use it. Those who don’t, should be prosecuted.

“It’s disappointing that the new Tourism Minister, Peeni Henare, has rejected National’s offer of assistance, thereby potentially criminalising tens of thousands of responsible Kiwi campers.

“A National Government will make sure freedom camping is fair, and environmentally sustainable without unnecessary regulation and cost. We will propose changes in Parliament to Labour’s poor Bill.”

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