Summer is almost here, and so are the freedom campers.
For those of us who grew up when Kiwi’s could camp on beaches and in national parks with relative freedom it may seem a little hypocritical to now insist that freedom camping is outlawed. However, times are a changing. With the greater number of tourists travelling to NZ intending to explore on the cheap, combined with the locals who still like to take advantage of the available freedoms, there is an increasing pressure on the integrity of our beaches and parks.
Another change is the shift in culture. The respect that was once largely instilled in us at a young age, seems to be less prevalent in modern culture. Modern travellers (not all but a significant number) seem to have no problem leaving waste of all kinds, and treating public (and private) property with careless disregard.
Has the time come when the increasingly disrespectful number have made it necessary to outlaw the rights of us all to enjoy freedoms that were once taken for granted?
Then there are those who take freedom camping to whole other level, such as those camping on the banks of the Takaka river. Their “grassroots revolution” seems to be a case of living their life of freedom at the expense of others. They are not prepared to contribute toward the cost of servicing the local community, and yet they are quite prepared to take advantage of the comforts of that community such as refuse removal, and public toilets.
These “unique” lifestyle choices look a lot like any other squatter camps around the world to those of us uninitiated with the finer points of camping on river banks.
What is your opinion on the rights of those who chose to live in our midst for free?