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We may be entering the traditional low ‘winter’ tourist season, but freedom campers are still causing problems on the South Island’s West Coast.

West Coast-Tasman National List MP Maureen Pugh says simply providing more free-of-charge facilities is not the long-term answer as it is disadvantaging legitimate businesses who pay rates and taxes, employ local people, and who have to bear the compliance costs of any successful business contributing to a community. “Realistically, any camping facilities need regular servicing and maintenance” she contends.

“There are good reasons for rules like minimum distances between camp sites with fuel and gas involved, but we have huge numbers of campers moving around the region in unserviced vehicles – and I am sure I don’t need to give details but allowing them to simply ‘park up’ on roadsides is having quite obvious disastrous effects to health, safety and environment” Mrs Pugh says.

Maureen Pugh is also suspicious of some campers’ vehicles which bear the ‘self-contained’ sticker, after hearing reports of such labels being sold for as little as ten cents each.

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