A man who agreed to be the sober driver during a mates' night out in Queenstown says he was stung with a $200 fine for "freedom parking" when he pulled over to rest on the long journey home.
Brayden Hardy, 20, was driving the 167km back to his home in Gore after a night out in Queenstown when he felt too tired to to continue driving. So he followed the road safety advertisements and pulled over to have a rest.
He'd been out late with friends but decided to be the sober driver. Still, the long hours had taken their toll and he felt he needed a bit of sleep before the two-and-a-half-hour journey back home to Gore.
Hardy set his alarm for 8am so he could then continue driving home and says he woke up to a fine on his windscreen. He says no one ever knocked on his car window to alert him.
Speaking to the Herald after hearing of other similar incidents, his mother Rachel Hardy says she is worried about the type of message authorities are sending to responsible drivers with these fines.
The ticket left on his windscreen shows it was issued at 4.50am.
"We paid the fine and didn't even contest it but it's just not right," Rachel Hardy said.
"It wasn't freedom camping, he was just doing what they tell us to do. We weren't happy about it but what can you do?"
Hardy says, despite disagreeing with the fine, he still believes he did the right thing by pulling over and sleeping because he knows he was too tired to drive home.
"It was absolutely the right thing to do. I can appreciate there are places where it's not suitable to do that but this wasn't the case."
This is not the only case of someone being fined for freedom camping in the area.
Arrowtown man Glen Wallace also received a fine for freedom camping in Queenstown, when he decided to sleep in his car after a night out drinking.
Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, Wallace says he worries this sends the wrong message about drink-driving.
Wallace said when he asked a Queenstown Lakes District Council staffer about getting the fine waived, he was told a "blanket rule" applied to freedom camping breaches and he would have to pay it.
In retrospect, he knew he should have stumped up $80 for a taxi, or checked into a backpackers, but thought sleeping in his vehicle was harmless.
"I'm trying to be responsible here, but I'm being punished for it."
Although he paid the fine, he felt as a longtime resident and ratepayer for 16 years, the council could have shown leniency.
"I don't mind that I got the ticket - that's fair enough - but I thought some common sense would prevail.
"I'm a ratepayer, I'm obviously not a freedom camper."