Council joins trial on illegal freedom camping
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.