What’s one of the last things you do before going to bed and one of the first things you do when you get up?
Where do you do it when you’re travelling in a car or van which doesn’t have an on-board loo and sleeping on a suburban street?
This one was parked about a kilometre from public loos so it’s possible its occupants used them. That can’t be said for the people who set up camp miles from anywhere.
Hawea people blocked off several wayside stopping places last year and are justifiably angry at the filth they’ve found since they’ve been re-opened.
Freedom campers have been blamed by the Hawea Community Association (HCA) for an “appalling and disgusting” repeat of the sight and smell of excrement, toilet paper, and rubbish at the reserves.
A huge local effort was made to clean up areas at Craigburn, Deep Creek, and by the Lake Hawea lookout in October when boulder blockades stopping access to the site were removed.
HCA president Rachel Brown has called for a culture change in New Zealand tourism in the wake of a sickening return to form by freedom campers.
“It’s the No 1 way of visiting New Zealand – just hire a van and drive around the country and [defecate] anywhere you want,” she said.
As freedom camping becomes increasingly popular with tourists the problem of freedom dumping will grow.
Councils will soon have the legal right to fine anyone found guilty of what used to be – and maybe still is – on the statute book as casting offensive matter. But first they have to catch them in the act and given the many isolated spots along our lakes, rivers and roads that won’t be easy.