I say good on the West Coast residents who have taken it upon themselves to protect their patch by limiting the number of freedom campers.

The campsite at Kakapotahi is council run and has recently been set up with toilets and rubbish facilities. The usually quiet spot which has room for just 15 campsites was then advertised and is now attracting up to 50 vehicles a night.

Of course the facilities meant for 15 campsites have no show of coping with this and it was taking its toll on the environment.

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So the locals made a plan. They also made signs and started monitoring the campsite. Once it is full, the sign goes up and the entrance to the campsite is blocked off.

The residents have been taking it in shifts to ensure the site is not over-used.

That's what I call good old kiwi ingenuity. If you can't get someone to help, just do it yourself. Brilliant.

The other story that has hit the headlines this week was the picture of a freedom camper going to the loo on the beach.

The woman who took the photo along the Thames Coast says she was mad and wild. She said the woman appeared to be a tourist and when she noticed her tucking toilet paper into her pocket she followed.

The tourist was fined $400. And good job.

I have absolutely nothing against freedom campers. In fact I think it's a fantastic way to see the world. I wouldn't mind taking a little tiki tour around New Zealand myself.

Tourism is important for New Zealand however just because you are "camping" doesn't mean you can treat New Zealand as a toilet.


Imagine if we all did that. Our waterways are already in dire straits, we don't need any more pollution from campers whether they be international tourists or Kiwis.
The rules are there for a reason and they include everyone.

We are lucky in New Zealand. If you go on a road trip there are public toilets in every village, town and city you come across. Admittedly some of them are not the cleanest but you have to take the good with the bad when you are on the road.

There were hundreds of camper vans in Hawke's Bay during the Art Deco Festival.
Napier City Council did an amazing job of setting up a camper van and motorhome park just south of the Spirit of Napier. It was packed but well co-ordinated and planned.

It's a great idea for huge events like the Art Deco festivals where accommodation in the Bay is booked out weeks in advance.

I haven't heard anything bad about these campers. That's the thing isn't it? As always 99 percent of campers, whether they be freedom of paying, respect the land. They don't leave trash all over the ground and they use public toilets or they are self contained.

Unfortunately it only takes one to dirty the waters.

A camper was telling me that they were parked alongside a park recently. There was a rugby practice at the park and when the lads had finished they emptied their water bottles under some bushes. It was just water. It trickled down the path and passed the door of the camper van. No problem to the camper.

However it was a problem to and man and woman walking their dog who assumed the water was from the van and said it loud enough for the camper to hear.
Assumptions are dangerous.

Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.