Responses to last week's Letter to the Editor 'Freedom Camping' by Rob Radics
Ban freedom camping
What the writer does not understand is that tourism is paid for on the back of ratepayers in New Zealand. Most countries have a Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT), commonly referred to as a bed tax (ten percent) that helps fund tourism infrastructure. Not in NZ.
To compare freedom camping to the same rights as a cow taking a steamer in a pasture is absurd. Do you realise that farmers are required to fence off waterways from stock? And by the way, we farmers pay substantial rates, not to mention actually purchasing the land our cattle shit on. You, my friend, are a visitor to our country.
Years ago freedom camping was palatable, but today in the QLDC there are 20,000 ratepayers, however, there can be up to 80,000 tourists here at any one time. Tourism is our largest single generator of GDP, but creates the lowest quality jobs, and greatly impacts the local citizens. Hence folks that make your flat whites for you are unable to buy a house, and even rent is a struggle for most.
You make mention of the government providing public freedom camping facilities, and they do! They are called campgrounds. Yes, they charge a nominal fee, but in New Zealand we have a very progressive tax system, and with that, we all contribute to society.
I do not think it is unreasonable to ask you, as a visitor to our beautiful country, that you stay in designated campgrounds, with the appropriate rubbish, and toilet facilities. Freedom camping is the number one hot-button issue in this community, and I personally think it needs to be banned in the QLDC.
I would like to address the letter published in the Wanaka Sun dated Thursday February 22 by Rob Radics.
I think it is about time Kiwis stepped up and stand up for what they believe in. I don't think Rob has any idea what he is talking about. If he was born a Kiwi or if he had any knowledge of conservation he would clearly see what has been happening to this beautiful country over the past 20 years.
I believe these penalties should only be the beginning. New Zealand offers more than enough facilities to campers and visitors - it's simple, if your vehicle does fit into the category of a freedom camper, book into a caravan park.
Unfortunately the New Zealand waterways have been polluted with didymo presumed to be introduced by people visiting New Zealand. Just this Saturday walking along the lakeside there where visitors to our country washing their dirty dishes in the lake with no concern for wildlife or the environment.
Good on the Kiwis, the only way to stop this disregard for the environment is to enforce the rules put in place to protect the environment. We need to preserve this country for our grandchildren and generations to come.
There is no other country like NZ and everyone needs to make an effort to retain this beauty.
G M Thomas
Click here to read the social media reaction to last week's Letter to the Editor by Rob Radic
Cover image: Eely Point Reserve, Wanaka - Feb 2018.
Click to read today's Wanaka Sun
View all earlier editions of the Wanaka Sun here