26 Aug 2017

National pledges to crack down on freedom campers

3:35 pm on 26 August 2017

National's promising to crack down on freedom campers if re-elected, introducing tougher rules on where they can stay.

National Party leader Bill English making the announcement.

National Party leader Bill English making the announcement in Queenstown. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

National leader Bill English launched the announcement in front of Lake Hayes in Queenstown this afternoon.

It would also give the Transport Agency and Land Information New Zealand the power to ban all freedom camping from certain areas, and would bar those without built-in toilets from parking further than 200m from public bathrooms.

Mr English said rulebreakers could be hit with an instant $200 fine.

"It's a pretty clear message to a small minority of tourists - clean up your act so that we can have a clean environment for everybody."

If the fine was not paid on the spot, it would be assigned to the vehicle owner - including rental companies - similar to speeding tickets.

Mr English said the changes would help regions and small towns maintain the quality of their environment and deal with the increasing number of freedom campers.

National Party local government spokesperson Anne Tolley said New Zealand had seen some "bad behaviour" from tourists without toilet facilities contained in their vehicles.

"New Zealanders don't like that. We respect our environment. It's important to all of us."

She said the new rules would not affect trampers, campers and hunters who stay in back country areas.