21 Sep 2009

Claim camping by-law too confusing

9:28 pm on 21 September 2009

One of the country's biggest providers of holiday rental vehicles says by-laws fining campers for parking up outside formal camping areas are causing major confusion.

A Thames Coromandel District council by-law came into effect on Monday introducing a $40.00 fine for campers caught outside formal camping areas.

But Tourism Holdings Limited, one of Australasia's largest provider of holiday rental vehicles, says it's a backwards step.

Tourism Holdings experience manager Kate Meldrum says regional variations mean tourists get confused about where they can and can't camp.

Ms Meldrum say there needs to be more consistency in by-laws throughout New Zealand.

Freedom Camping Forum coordinator Geoff Ensor agrees that having fines in some regions and not in others confuses visitors.

He says it's unfair to fine visitors as regional variations make it hard for travellers to figure out where they can and can't camp.

He says a consistent set of fines and enforcement regimes across the country would be more effective.

Thames Coromandel mayor Philippa Barriball says the government should introduce a bylaw for councils to follow, which would help create uniformity.

Success in Queenstown

Queenstown Lakes District Council says on the spot fines for illegal freedom camping have been a success in their area.

It says a similar bylaw to the one which took effect in Coromandel on Monday has not put people off camping in their region.

Community services general manager Paul Wilson says lots of people still freedom camp in the area and there needs to be a deterrent for people who break the rules.

However he says they have not yet actually fined anyone. The bylaw has been in place since 2006.