Just over 1000 people have let their fingers do the talking on freedom camping in the Queenstown Lakes District.

A total of 1070 people filled out an online survey offering their solutions to one of the district's most pressing issues.

Responding to how the council could ensure campers behaved "responsibly", one person suggested more realistic staffing levels to enforce the bylaw were required.

"Putting an infringement notice on an offending vehicle in the middle of the night is not enforcement, when the offenders will just leave the country without paying".


Many felt all campers needed to be directed to formal camping grounds, while some suggested the council establish an area for freedom campers, and charge for it.

One person believed the term "freedom camping" should be eliminated, given the connotation that meant free of charge, while another said "freedom camping does not have to mean free".

In response to a question about what facilities the local community should provide for freedom campers, the majority said toilets, hand basins, rubbish collection facilities and dump stations, which many suggested should be user-pays.

Others simply responded "none".

There was a range of views on where those facilities should be located. One respondent suggested it should be easier for landowners to create a small camping ground on their land to create a "network" of facilities across the district, ranging in size, with others provided by the council, Department of Conservation (Doc) and Land Information New Zealand (Linz).

The survey also asked what changes people wanted to see to the regulation of freedom campers.

One felt instant fines should be issued and if campers were unable to pay they should be referred to the police, while others said the requirement for self-contained certification was inadequate and enforcement needed to improve.

"Many small vans have self-contained stickers on them that cannot possibly be — I have heard that counterfeits are being produced and put on many vans," one person said.

"There needs to be much better enforcement and a way to ensure all fines are paid before leaving the country needs to be found.

"I feel the initial cost of more enforcement patrols would be made up for in paid fines and less costs cleaning up."

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said it was one of the most popular issues the council had ever sought feedback on and responses would help inform the council as it reviewed its rules and developed a multi-agency camping strategy for the district.

The council was reviewing its Freedom Camping Control Bylaw and relevant aspects of its Reserves Management Plans later this year.

Simultaneously, it was discussing developing a camping strategy and finding ways to provide funding and/or support for more facilities throughout the district with various agencies, including Doc, Linz, the NZ Transport Agency and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.