Battle brewing over freedom camping in Nelson

Nelson holiday park owners are outraged over a council decision to accommodate freedom campers.

Operators say they might lose business during their busiest time of year, but the council says it's solving what could've been a major problem.

The council is offering sites for travellers to stay at no cost.

Deputy Mayor Paul Matheson said they had put in Wi-Fi and portaloos, and supplied water for the travellers.

While they may be free for the campers, they will cost the council $80,000 to set up. 

The decision was made following the Kaikoura earthquake, as city officials estimated Nelson would see four times as many campers as usual.

It's hoped the sites will accommodate travellers until at least the end of February.   

Mr Matheson says they "had" to do something.

"They would have spread themselves like marmite from one side of the city to the other ... here it's managed"

But holiday park operators like Marcel Fekkes aren't as impressed.

He argues the council has taken the service they offer, and are simply "giving it away".

"I don't see the need in accommodating every need that the so-called freedom camper requires," he says. 

Mr Fekkes argues the council should've consulted them before making a "knee-jerk" reaction.

Both the council and business owners like Mr Fekkes do agree on one thing though; they'd like to see a nationwide policy that's clear to everyone about what's acceptable.