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Wakatipu, Otago, South Island, Aotearoa: save our reserves - solutions to careless campers

This petition had 16,011 supporters

Our environment and our community is in trouble and everyone knows it.

An explosion in popularity of self-drive vacation vans means reserves and carparks are crowded with people camping in vehicles and tents. Worse, enough are ruining it for everybody by strewing the area with human waste and trash, even on paths and by waterways. 

Roadsides are not pristine anywhere, and rest areas have evidence of human waste behind trees and bushes. Farmers are even finding people, trash and human excrement on their land and in driveways.

This is largely about the vans and cars that people live in which are either not self contained, or are nominally self-contained with a portaloo that is impractical to use. It is not about genuinely self-sufficient motorhomes / campervans.

While this petition started to protect the Lake Hayes reserve, Lower Shotover carpark, Tucker beach reserves, Lake Dunstan's reserves and even the Queenstown Gardens, we are now being shared nationwide and globally.  So this petition is asking QLDC to lead the way, but the government to take note and work with us all urgently to save our country's remaining wild or green spaces.

Own the fact that this is NOT working.

We are asking for a working group of all stakeholders to come together urgently and get bold solutions underway.

It's way past time that more is considered than just the dubious "economic benefit" careless campers bring to our country. We need value to be placed on our environment and community and choose the way people respect being here.

We want our community to work together to find solutions, support the council in implementing changes, and where necessary lobbying government and businesses to work with us:

Some suggestions that have been raised and need to be discussed include:

- not accepting "self-contained" stickers as evidence of self-contained vehicles. There is no overseeing body, the law doesn't define self-contained as sporting the stickers, they are easy to fake, and with renewal every 4 years many, many vehicles with stickers are not genuinely self contained. They are obsolete. 

- working with stakeholders so that genuinely self-contained vehicles / NZMCA members are not negatively affected

- Identifying and resourcing an area/s for camping such as DOC sites at 12 mile with cost-effective and nice amenities. Better resource DOC.

- Clamping and instant fines for those who flout the rules. Zero tolerance on human waste. 

- A camping license - lifetime for NZers, fixed term for visitors - that pays for resources like toilets and bins

- Registered owners of vans have to have matching camping license for that vehicle.  New owners have to get their own license.

- Putting the onus back on the van rental companies who seem to have plenty of benefit on the backs of our environment, our community and the well-meaning travelers.

- Fines go into restoring and cleaning our reserves

- Continue to lobby for a visitor levy and look at other creative way of gaining "sustainability revenue" to put back into the facilities.  Ratepayers cannot subsidise the necessary amenities for such an influx of people

- Residents can get out and use the reserves as intended and look after them further with planting and care.

 Residents are starting to take matters into their own hands. Tourism is losing its social license to operate, and even many visitors are horrified when they see how poorly we take care of "clean green" New Zealand.  

This is not freedom camping, as NZers' birthright. This is cheap, careless, polluting, freeloading. 

This petition is a way of showing our support and giving people a voice for their ideas to take care of our environment and our community. We ask our Mayor and other Mayors around New Zealand to bring a group together to engage with the community and stakeholders, drive these conversations and speed up solutions.  We have put plenty on the table, now own it and fix it.


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