The New Laws blog is pleased to bring you this post about the Freedom Camping Bill. The Green Party has opposed the new bill and Government Ministers Nick Smith and Kate Wilkinson say that this is nothing short of hypocritical in as much as it shows that the Green’s place more stock on people being allowed to camp where they like ahead of responsibility for the environment.
New Laws can report that in spite of opposition from the Greens and
former Conservation Minister Chris Carter the bill passed its first reading in Parliament yesterday.
“I am particularly disappointed the Green Party voted against the Bill. They are being hypocritical in demanding stronger action against polluting farmers but turning a blind eye to the increasing problems in our most sensitive areas caused by irresponsible freedom campers. They cannot pretend to be the defenders of New Zealand’s clean green brand when they put more weight on camping freely than the responsibility to do so without polluting,” Dr Smith said.
“We need to take a consistent and fair approach to all groups whose pollution is damaging New Zealand’s reputation. The Government has more than doubled the maximum fines to $200,000 for farmers and $300,000 for industry for breaches of water discharge consents. Regional Councils have toughened up enforcement with a significant increase in the number of prosecutions. Everyone needs to take a step up in better respecting our environment.”
New Laws reports that Conservation Minister, the Hon. Kate Wilkinson says that she finds it baffling that the Green Party seems content that some of New Zealand’s most unsullied countryside be used as nothing more than a toilet and a dumping ground.
“Freedom camping will always remain part of the Kiwi holiday culture but it’s important that we can better prevent the appalling behaviour of the minority so everyone else can enjoy their holiday.
“This Bill is about giving local councils and DOC better tools to protect areas that have been badly impacted by the growth of freedom camping. The backcountry will remain unaffected, as it should be, and no responsible, law-abiding camper is going to be impacted.”