Dr CAM CALDER (National) : I start with the underlying premise that the default position of the Freedom Camping Bill is that freedom camping on public land is allowed, subject to the legislation. I thank the Hon Rick Barker for his colourful contribution. I think he brought in allusions to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” in a previous contribution. The Hon Damien O’Connor made a number of contributions, some of them more considered than others, but I do not feel he, along with Mr Phil Twyford, understands the full problem that indiscriminate defecation in our areas of outstanding natural beauty is posing to local residents, local authorities, the Department of Conservation, and, of course, the unwary traveller. Who wants to step out of their van or off their motorcycle into a pile of steaming human waste or ordure? I do not mean to make light of this issue. It is a significant problem to a large number of communities around our beautiful country.
Phil Twyford: Cam, you know you don’t support it.
Dr CAM CALDER: I have, as Mr Twyford has signalled, many times driven through the night and parked at an appropriate spot, ready to get an early start on a tramp, hunting trip, or fishing trip, and I would expect to still be able to do that. This is basically a tool. It is a tool that we have given councils, which told us they were desperate. The Hon Maryan Street and the Hon Steve Chadwick admitted in their speeches yesterday that there is a huge problem here. They knew about the problem. The mayoral forum told them about the problem, but what did they do about the problem?
Hon Members: Nothing.
Dr CAM CALDER: Nothing. What did they do about the problem for many, many years?
Hon Members: Nothing.
Dr CAM CALDER: Nothing. We are doing something to address a major concern to communities and local authorities the length of our country.
I will close with a comment from Lawrence Yule, who is President of Local Government New Zealand, and who said: “Many communities are sick of having to bear the wasteful cost of cleaning up the mess left behind by irresponsible freedom campers,”. He said that although many communities did not have a freedom camper problem, the bill would be a country-wide tool, giving all councils the option to identify areas where camping should be prohibited and enforcement options available. This bill is a fine tool, giving the councils, local authorities, and the Department of Conservation the appropriate methods they need. I commend this bill to the House.