15 Aug 2018

Better facilities on the way for campers this summer

11:37 am on 15 August 2018

The Government has announced an $8.5 million fund to better manage freedom camping.

Freedom camping

Freedom camping Photo: RNZ

The decision follows a report from the Responsible Camping Working Group, which was established by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis earlier this year.

The group recommended several long and short term fixes in the lead up to the 2018/2019 peak season, including funding projects to help councils manage freedom camping in their regions.

The number of international tourists who freedom camped while visiting New Zealand has nearly doubled in two years, rising from about 60,000 in 2015 to around 110,000 last year.

Recycling collection facilities, infrastructure and operating costs in Grey District will receive a $850,000 funding boost.

Westland District Council has been allocated about $780,000 for new camping facilities and to cover operating costs, education and enforcement.

Tasman District Council is set to receive $660,000 from the fund to improve tourism infrastructure in the lead up to summer.

Queenstown Lakes, Buller, Mackenzie and Waitaki district councils will receive more than $500,000 in the lead up to the tourism season, with Mackenzie and Waitaki receiving a joint payment.

MBIE's figures show that freedom campers visited almost twice as many regions as regular visitors.

Mr Davis said the next peak season was rapidly approaching.

"I want people to be able to camp responsibly while ensuring the facilities are in place to support our communities," he said.

"Not all the solutions recommended by the working group can be in place by this summer."

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts, who was an industry representative in the group, said funding was allocated to help cater for an important sector of New Zealand's tourism industry.

"We look forward to continuing to work in this space to ensure New Zealanders and our international visitors can still choose camping as a uniquely Kiwi way of experiencing our country," Mr Roberts said.

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