Letters to Editor: Fair go for freedom campers


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Freedom campers deserve a fair go

The Wairoa District Council should be commended for considering a new bylaw in line with the Freedom Camping Act 2011. The Act is pro-freedom camping, enabling the council to take a more permissive approach towards responsible freedom campers, while offering an infringement regime specifically designed to deter the minority of irresponsible campers.

Critics such as Mr Shortt need to stop generalising freedom campers, most of whom respect the environment and can be of great benefit to local communities.

For example, those travelling in certified self-contained vehicles have the necessary ablution facilities and tanks on board allowing the safe disposal of waste without adversely affecting public health or the environment.

Businesses benefit financially from an increase in visitor spending - last year the motorhome and campervan industry contributed $600 million towards New Zealand's economy.

One must also remember that freedom camping is a valued New Zealand tradition and the legislation confirms New Zealanders' right to freedom camp responsibly.

Local government is legally required to respect these rights and only where demonstrably justifiable should restrictions through bylaws be imposed to the extent necessary to protect the area, access to the area, or public health and safety. These restrictions must be rational and proportionate to any perceived problems, therefore maintaining a blanket ban on all freedom campers would be an unreasonable and disproportionate approach.

James Imlach, Motor Caravan Association

Band not at fault

One of your correspondents was disappointed at the non-appearance of the Pipe Band on New Year's Eve in Napier. We are sorry to report that the Drones & Sticks Pipe Band, who have performed for many years at midnight on Marine Parade, were incorrectly advised that the celebrations were cancelled this year because of the weather.

For that reason the band did not appear at midnight, and we regret any disappointment.

We will be there next year.

Harry Renfree, President

Marineland potential

I suppose that much "progress" is little more that suppositions taking root in prejudice and then being loudly declaimed as "truth".

How could swimming with dolphins in Marineland be to someone "the most disturbing and cruel thing (he/she) had ever experienced" meriting intervention by the SPCA or some other organisation? Did your correspondent complain at the time? Fiddle dee dee. Dolphin Moko sought out humankind to interact with them.

So did Opo, so does a pod of dolphins in West Australia.

Some species of local dolphin facing extinction are desperately in need of protection.

It is all very fine to say: "change the form of human behaviour that threatens them."

But, as with the need to address climate issues or tsunami threats, we'll all still be talking when the disasters have happened.

Marineland is a potential asset in this fight to save and conserve.

A little more thinking and a little less silly PC could help.

Russ Spiller, Napier

- Hawkes Bay Today

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