Freedom campers hit in pocket

Freedom campers who break the rules in the Queenstown and Wanaka districts are being hit hard in the pocket.

Under the new Freedom Camping Bylaw, 511 infringement fines have been issued in Queenstown and Wanaka since December 22 - nearly double the number for the same time the year before.

The new bylaw came into effect on December 19, replacing the former bylaw which also allowed the council to issue $200 infringement fines.

Lakes Environmental regulatory and corporate manager Lee Webster said since the enforcement level was the same as under the previous bylaw, his only explanation for the increase was a rise in visitor numbers to the Lakes District.

He said for the period from December 22, 2011, to January 11, 2012, a total of 279 fines were issued.

''That's 232 more - it's getting up to almost double.

''It's demonstrating the influx of people to our community,'' Mr Webster said.

Under the new bylaw ''some boundaries have changed but the general principles are the same''.

The council's enforcement officers worked for two hours ''in the early hours of the morning'', the same as under the previous bylaw.

Mr Webster said 47 freedom camping infringements had been issued in the Boundary St car park, all in January.

QLDC, do the maths

Clare waddick is so right: "Fine them and they won't be back."  How much is spent on promoting tourism?  How much is "earned" from fines?  How fast does bad news spread about someone's experience in NZ?  What do people take most notice of, publicity from an advertising agency, or word of mouth from people who've been there?  That's awfully expensive compared with giving them a pleasantly phrased warning note.

QLDC take note

That is 511 tourists that will leave our area with bad memories. Is that what you want? Most of these people will have not been aware of the law. They will have driven in and not noticed signs. I don't agree with the law but as it stands I see no reason why warning notices could not be issued first and if the freedom campers are caught again then issue the fine. I bet if warnings are given there will be no fines. Plus people will be educated so if they return they will know where to go. Fine them and they won't be back.

Tourists

That's ok, soon word will get around and tourists will go elsewhere with the result of less money going to that region.

Fines collected?

How many of the fines have been paid?