Fewer complaints as campers clean up act

Freedom campers have cleaned up their act and are causing fewer problems across the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago districts this summer.

Statistics released by both councils show there has been a reduction in the number of complaints against campers compared to last summer.

Queenstown Lakes District Council media and channels adviser Jack Barlow said 9050 self-contained vehicles used the council service hubs between November and late January - 4552 in Queenstown and 4498 in Wanaka.

This compared to 8446 for the same period last year - 4033 in Queenstown and 4413 in Wanaka.

Complaints about campers had dropped from 80 between November 2018 and January 2019 to 57 for the same period in November and January.

Responsible camping ambassador Neco Wieringa helps visitors know the rules at Wanaka’s service hub. Photo: Simon Henderson
Responsible camping ambassador Neco Wieringa helps visitors know the rules at Wanaka’s service hub. Photo: Simon Henderson
The number of fines had also dropped - from 1347 between November 2018 and January 2019 to 1285 between November 2019 and January this year.

‘‘Non-compliance issues have declined this year, which indicates the responsible camping project and the ambassadors are helping inform freedom campers on best practice and the right places to camp,’’ Mr Barlow said.

Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Gordon Bailey said there had been no complaints about freedom campers in December and January.

Data on the number of freedom campers for December suggested a decrease in numbers compared to last summer.

Although vehicle counters at certain sites showed an increase in traffic, that could include day visitors as well as campers, he said.

The council has no bylaw allowing it to issue freedom camping fines.

It used Cougar Security to undertake education and enforcement at freedom camping sites.

‘‘This year is on a par with last year, with few or no issues of note,’’ Mr Bailey said.

Responsible camping ambassador Neco Wieringa, of Wanaka, said he was one of the 16 ambassadors funded by the Queenstown Lakes District Council as well as funds from the central government to provide information ‘‘such as using the facilities, not dropping rubbish, not showering in the lake’’, he said.

He provided information on where people could and couldn’t camp ‘‘so they can avoid fines’’.

The ambassadors collected information from campers. ‘‘We have a long form survey which has about 60 questions’’.

The survey provides information including the demographics of campers, what other areas they had visited or would be visiting, and what facilities they have in their camper.

‘‘It just provides a bit more analysis for next year’s project.’’



Interesting signage there..
No overnight staying but only certified self contained..
How is that even legal?

We doubt he issues around Freedom Camping have ever as bad as made out.
Internal Affairs Dept report back in 2016 stated there was little evidence against Freedom Campers and that most of the problem was the media giving NIMBY's airtime.
It seems every time someone see's a poo beside the road its a freedom camper responsible. Reality is Freedom campers are more likely to have a toilet on-board then what normal everyday travelers are.

Meantime we have the CEO of NZ's largest RV club blaming non certified self contained campers for the poo he stood in - if he had known who was responsible he would have known it was there and NOT STOOD IN IT !!..
But this is the level of evidence we have now come to expect from that group while feathering their own nest.

Meantime the majority of Freedom campers in tents and who include Cyclists, Trampers, Hunters, Kayakers we never hear complaints about.
Maybe it is time to ban Motorhomes & Caravans owners from Freedom Camping and only allow traditional Freedom camping in tents? (Tongue in cheek but... )

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter