It’s getting a bit messy in the festive season

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Hundreds of messy Queens­town visitors are being stung with fines for flouting freedom camping rules during the holiday season. 

Since December 22, at least 250 fines of $200 each have been issued to visitors living out of vehicles in places they’re not meant to. 

Dozens of vans and campervans were parked in downtown public car parks during New Year’s Eve, many leaving a trail of rubbish in their wake. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council’s community services general manager Paul Wilson says enforcement staff have been actively patrolling local freedom camping problem areas daily and issuing fines under the newly-ratified Freedom Camping Bylaw. 

Despite the number of fines issued so far, Wilson says: “The trend is going in the right direction and we are continuing to see an improvement in freedom camping behaviour. 

“Freedom camping is permitted in self-contained vehicles outside the town centre. 

“But we can’t be everywhere at once so if anyone sees anything they feel is out of line and outside of working hours they can call our after-hours number and they will send people to investigate,” Wilson says. 

The hotline number is (03) 441 0499.