Camper fined $200 for breaching bylaw

21:04, Jan 06 2014

Just one fine has been issued in Southland for breaching a freedom camping bylaw during the holiday season.

Southland District Council environmental health manager Michael Sarfaiti said the $200 fine was issued to a camper in the Te Anau area for "repeat offending".

That meant the person had previously been told several times by a ranger to move on but had refused to leave, he said.

The holiday season began on November 1 and continues until April 30. Rangers patrolled the Te Anau area to ensure no-one was illegally camping during that time, Mr Sarfaiti said.

If the rangers discovered anyone camping illegally, they would usually be asked to move on before a fine was issued, he said.

The council introduced a bylaw in 2012 that banned freedom camping throughout Southland, except for 10 designated sites in the region, none of which is in Fiordland. The bylaw also put the Queens Reach picnic area, near Te Anau, off limits to campers.

"The gates there are locked at 10pm every night and opened again at 8am the next morning, so I don't think there have been any issues there," Mr Sarfaiti said.

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