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Louise Upston, National MP for Taupō welcomes National’s proposal to introduce tougher rules for freedom camping in order to protect public spaces and crack down on poor behaviour.

“Lots of Kiwis and many of our international visitors love to camp, and they make a large contribution to our tourism industry,” Ms Upston says.

“Freedom campers stay longer and spend more on average than other visitors. We want them to continue to enjoy what New Zealand has to offer and add to the $380 million a year they currently spend in our regions.

“However, they need to do so responsibly. That’s why we want to give councils and the Department of Conservation (DOC) help to penalise those who demonstrate poor or disrespectful behaviour.

“National will restrict all non-self-contained vehicles to areas that are within easy walking distance, approximately 200 metres, of toilet facilities.

“Councils and DOC will be able to ban freedom camping from certain areas and issue instant fines to those who break the rules. If the fine can’t be paid on the spot, it will be assigned to the vehicle owner, including rental car companies.

“To make compliance easier, we will also create a new smartphone app to show exactly where people can and cannot camp. We will ensure consistent public signage across the country to make sure freedom campers know their rights and responsibilities.

“We wish for visitors to enjoy their time here, but that must include taking responsibility for their actions and doing their share to take good care of our beautiful country. National will give greater powers to councils and DOC to enable and enforce this.

“We will work to keep New Zealand beautiful for everyone to enjoy,” Ms Upston says.

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