Freedom campers to benefit from Budget -- PM

Freedom campers to benefit from Budget -- PM

Freedom campers will benefit from this year's Budget with Prime Minister John Key revealing money will be allocated for infrastructure improvements.

Mr Key told The Nation the growing tourism industry is putting pressure on local councils.

"There's an infrastructure deficit for the backpacker end, where people are staying out there, [they're] not necessarily staying in a motel or holiday park and that's a real issue for local councils," says Mr Key.

He did not reveal specific details of how much spending would be allocated, or which facilities it would be spent on.

However, Dunedin Mayor, Dave Cull, says freedom camping should not be encouraged but instead limited.

Mr Cull says any extra funding councils receive will still not be enough to cope with growing numbers of tourists.

"No one really foresaw the rising numbers when the rules around freedom camping were brought in at the time of the Rugby World Cup and now there is a real problem with people crapping everywhere," says Mr Cull.

He says freedom camping should be limited to those who have proper self-contained toilets on board their vehicles.

"I mean, some of them come with these plastic chemical toilets that most of them don't even use.

"I think we need to look again at our laws around freedom camping and whether we should allow for freedom camping at all."

Mr Cull worries providing infrastructure for greater numbers of freedom campers will ruin the very spots they are coming to see.

"If we stick a dunny at every place where freedom campers stay what will that do for all the beautiful places we're trying to sell?"

The past summer saw a large increase in the number of freedom campers across Otago, stretching facilities and the patience of some local residents.

The Prime Minister, who is in China on a state visit, is also actively promoting an increase in Chinese tourism.

He says the 100 million trips by Chinese nationals are expected to quadruple within five years and New Zealand's tourist industry needs to be able to cope.

"The question for us is whether we have the capacity to accommodate them and that will require us to build more infrastructure, particularly around hotels," says Mr Key.

Newshub.

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