Instant fines totalling more than $20,000 have been
imposed on errant freedom campers in the Queenstown Lakes
district less than a month after enforcement of the Freedom
Camping Bill commenced.
The legislation, allowing local authorities to impose instant
fines of $200, or up to $10,000 for serious offences such as
emptying a campervan sewage tank in a rest area, took effect
on August 30, but local enforcement did not begin until
Queenstown Lakes District Council community services general
manager Paul Wilson said the lag provided time to educate
freedom campers, "mindful of the fact that this is the Rugby
World Cup, and people are on holiday", as well as for
approving measures such as $20,000 worth of signs.
However, by yesterday 102 infringement notices, with fines
totalling $20,400, had been issued, Lakes Environmental
manager for regulatory and corporate Lee Webster said.
Under the new regulations, freedom campers with tents or
vehicles which are not equipped with a toilet can stay
overnight only at licensed camping grounds or in designated
Those in self-contained vehicles still have to camp in
camping grounds or designated camping areas while inside new
"no freedom camping zones", but can camp anywhere outside the
Before the Bill was passed by Parliament, the council could
only impose $40 infringement fines.
Mr Wilson thought the legislation was working well so far,
with most people "getting the message".
"My general impression is that there's been a reasonably
significant drop in inappropriate freedom camping and I think
the education campaign we have got out there is working and
people are generally following the rules."
The education campaign included flyers being left under van
windscreen wipers, signs being put up and an up-to-date
The next step would be monitoring how the initiative
performed, with a review in February, Mr Wilson said.
When asked if these changes would include enforcement of the
freedom camping bylaw around Lake Hawea - as sought by the
Hawea Community Association - he said no.
"That's not been under the legislation. That's a matter for
Linz [Land Information New Zealand], not the council."