Loss of lake protection appals group

The Hawea Community Association is bitterly disappointed a freedom camping bylaw is not going to be enforced on Land Information New Zealand land around Lake Hawea.

Association president Rachel Brown and member John Taylor strongly condemned a national change in policy this week, telling the Queenstown Lakes District Council its bylaw had been weakened.

"I am here to ask you about the apparent shifting of the goalposts ... I am passionate about our lakes, this lake in particular [Lake Hawea] and our water colours and quality. I and the community at large have a high intolerance of those who [foul] our lakes, especially our lake sides ...

"We welcomed the bylaw enacted [earlier] this year. We had great expectations it would be enforced.

"Imagine the shock we received and our absolute bewilderment when we were advised last week that Linz land would not be included in the Queenstown Lakes District Council area of control, presumably on the basis of it not being in a QLDC management area," Mr Taylor said.

Ms Brown presented a letter from Land Information Minister Kate Wilkinson in June assuring her, on behalf of Linz, Doc officials had contacted Linz officials to advise the QLDC bylaw enacted in May applied to Linz land.

Freedom camping is prohibited around parts of Lake Hawea and under the bylaw, the QLDC could fine people who camp there.

Mr Taylor and Ms Brown pleaded with the QLDC to enforce the bylaw for the entire area freedom camping was prohibited.

It had always been hoped all of it would be covered by the same protection.

Community services committee chairwoman Cr Cath Gilmour said the council had been "stymied" by a change of national policy. Parliament had changed its mind and had not included Linz and Doc land in the Freedom Camping Act.

Cr Gilmour promised the zone freedom camping was prohibited would be monitored and reviewed throughout the summer.

"I can tell you already what it will be like this summer. It will be disgusting. Thank you for your support, though," Ms Brown said.


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