Freedom camping influx hitting farmers

  • 25/01/2017
Freedom camping

Federated Farmers has called for communities to get more funding to help them to cope with the influx of freedom campers.

Local government spokesperson Katie Milne says that, with tourism at record levels, farmers are seeing the effects of freedom camping on their properties.

"The Government is making plenty in GST but doing little to fund the needs of small communities in need of significant investment to cope," she said.

Ms Milne said the Government needed to move quickly on calls for a sustainable response, in particular new revenue mechanisms for local councils in addition to rates.

She said rates based on property values were "completely hopeless in this situation".

"You can't rate a campervan because it moves, and Department of Conservation land is non-rateable yet frequently the attraction for freedom campers."

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule agreed that a decision on funding mechanisms and sources beyond property rates was becoming more and more urgent.

He said Federated Farmers was also right to note that the Government was earning a significant amount of GST from tourism.

In LGNZ's view, even a small share of GST could easily be allocated into a fund for local tourism infrastructure.

"Many tourist destinations have a small ratepayer base and the ability to pay for necessary facilities including carparks and toilets is limited," Mr Yule says.

"We have been calling for greater tourism funding from central Government for some time now. It is just not feasible for communities to pay for the costs associated with the tourism boom."