Coun­cil joins trial on il­le­gal free­dom camp­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - WHAT’S ON - AMANDA CROPP

New Zealand’s largest cam­per­van hire com­pany is help­ing two dis­trict coun­cils col­lect il­le­gal free­dom camp­ing fines so of­fend­ers don’t just skip the coun­try.

Tourism Hold­ings Ltd (THL) – which has about 1800 ve­hi­cles op­er­at­ing un­der the Maui, Britz and Mighty cam­per­van brands – is tak­ing part in a three month trial launched on Au­gust 1.

The Thames-Coro­man­del and Queen­stown-Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cils will no­tify THL within 24 hours of an in­fringe­ment no­tice be­ing is­sued, in­stead of the pre­vi­ous sys­tem of wait­ing the 28 days to do so. Of­fend­ers re­turn­ing their ve­hi­cles will be asked to pay up by adding the $200 fine to their credit card pay­ment along with a $35 ad­min­is­tra­tion fee.

Queen­stown-Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil (QLDC) reg­u­la­tory man­ager Lee Web­ster said sev­eral hun­dred free­dom camp­ing no­tices were is­sued in his area in July and he hoped the speed­ier no­ti­fi­ca­tion would re­duce fine de­fault­ers be­cause only about half the fines im­posed were paid.

How­ever, lo­cal au­thor­ity tourism con­sul­tant David Ham­mond said those who ap­pealed in­fringe­ment no­tices could not be forced to pay un­til their waiver ap­pli­ca­tions had been pro­cessed.

Tourism Hold­ings is try­ing to en­sure that cus­tomers pay up.

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