Tourism minister Kelvin Davis addresses freedom camping on The Project

Freedom campers make up 3 percent of New Zealander's visitors, and spend half what the others do. On top of that, they've had their fair share of complaints.

Overcrowding, littering, not using bathrooms, and removing "no camping" signs.

Last year, tourism minister Kelvin Davis created a working group to address freedom campers - and the question is - what's changed?

On Friday evening, Kelvin Davis appeared on The Project to talk freedom campers.

He says the Government has put $8.5 million into better infrastructure, and things are improving.

"It's a damn sight better than it was this time last year."

Mr Davis says not all freedom campers are the bad guys

"The vast majority are the good guys - they stay for longer, they visit the regions, they spend more, they visit attractions," he said on Friday.

We have to realise how good tourism is for New Zealand, it's our biggest export earner. It's a big employer, too, with 200,000 New Zealanders employed in tourism, Mr Davis said.

"If we do it right and we get better at doing it, it'll have great impact on New Zealand," he said.

When asked if he had actually managed to enact meaningful change, Mr Davis said he and his group have improved the situation for small-town New Zealand.

"A lot of it has improved, part of that $8.5 million went to visitor ambassadors who basically went around camping grounds to tell people what the rules were and point them in the right direction."

"I'm not claiming perfection but we're working on it," Mr Davis said.

Watch the full interview above.



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