Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Freedom Campers "Should Be Shot" - Updated

The president of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, Dick Waters, may have wounded himself in his own foot after issuing another call yesterday for freedom campers to be "shot" if they use vans that don't have their own toilet facilities. Mr Waters, is reported as having said yesterday that "Messy freedom campers who trundle around the country in sleeper vans without toilets or self-contained utilities should be "shot".  It followed similar comments he made in January

His remarks will probably touch a raw nerve with campers who have suffered assaults and robberies whilst camping in New Zealand (see posts tagged Campsite Assaults)

Effectively declaring open season on certain types of campers isn't going to do much to enhance the country's tarnished reputation for visitor safety is it?  Even if the comment was meant to shock, rather than be taken literally, it may cause certain elements of NZ society to feel less than 'gracious' towards visitors, who may be now viewed as little more than vermin.

The Rugby World Cup will be held in NZ next year, there is already said to be a shortage of accommodation and talk of bringing in ships to provide extra beds. Many visiting fans will probably be hiring camper vans. We have the feeling this is not a good time to be issuing a 'call to arms.'

Update 9 March 2010 from
Residents target freedom campers
"Freedom camping "bludgers" and roading concerns came under the microscope as Marlborough Sounds residents met last night to share their priorities for renewal plans.
One Marlborough district councillor even suggested they be "shot" as an incentive not to stop..

Sue Snape, of The Grove, said she did not have a problem with those in self-contained campervans. "It's the freedom bludgers I don't like."
Calls from other residents for better signs telling freedom campers not to stay overnight won support from Picton councillor Nigel Weetman.
"We've got to give them some idea that `you will be shot or something' [if you camp here]. That might make a difference."

However, one Ohingaroa resident said the situation was becoming more serious.
Residents were encouraged by the council to ask campers to move on, but one had been pushed by a camper on Saturday, he said. The incident has been reported to the police.
However, one Sounds resident called for support to be given to freedom campers. Ngakuta Bay Community Association chairman Paul Fitzharris said some facilities should be provided for freedom campers, and called for a thoughtful solution.
"A lot of people here rely on the tourist trade. While we hate them in one sense, we love them in another."
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