Mayor wants fines hiked

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Queenstown mayor Clive Geddes is to lobby Wellington to clear the way for instant $200-300 fines for rogue freedom campers. 

Geddes says the maximum fine officials can dish out under existing law is $12 for parking on road reserve. 

“It’s essentially a parking ticket. That is wholly meaningless. It needs to be $200 or $300. That sends a meaningful signal that the community is not going to tolerate this kind of behaviour,” Geddes says. 

He’s been leading the recent charge against freeloading freedom campers who don’t use designated sites. 

Mountain Scene has published photos in the previous two editions showing rampant free camping at no-go zones around Frankton Beach and Lake Hayes. Some pictures show soiled toilet paper left at Frankton Beach and even people overnighting in a toilet block. 

At present, local councils are hamstrung by central Government legislation restricting the size of fines. 

Geddes: “We just need a legislative change to give us more flexibility in the type of fine we can set.” 

He plans to have his council examine the options and join forces with Tasman and Westland councils to push for 
change. 

“No one in this community goes and lives in the One Mile carpark, uses the toilet and hangs their washing out on the chainlink fence. 

“They’re welcome to come here but what we want is respect for the place we live in.”