Former mayor joins KiwiCamp revolution to fix freedom camping

The KiwiCamp team, from left, Claire Barlow, Kamila Mlejnkova' and Chris Wagner are ready for their freedom camping ...
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

The KiwiCamp team, from left, Claire Barlow, Kamila Mlejnkova' and Chris Wagner are ready for their freedom camping concept to launch in Marlborough.

A former South Island mayor has joined the KiwiCamp revolution as Chris Wagner opens his platform to the world.

The freedom camping concept is now a reality for the Blenheim man, offering a free space for campers to pull up, scan an app on their phone, and stay the night.

It is free to park, but access to hot showers and washing machines incur a small fee, by scanning the KiwiCamp app.

Former Mackenzie District Mayor Claire Barlow has joined the KiwiCamp team as their sales and public relations manager, ...
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Former Mackenzie District Mayor Claire Barlow has joined the KiwiCamp team as their sales and public relations manager, and says she can see huge potential in the business.

It was Wagner's vision for KiwiCamp sites to be stationed around the country, and he has enlisted a former district mayor to reach that goal.

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Former Mackenzie District mayor Claire Barlow ended her two terms of office in October and has joined the KiwiCamp team as their sales and public relations manager.

Camping is free, but using the utilities incurs a small fee when users scan the app on their mobile phone.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Camping is free, but using the utilities incurs a small fee when users scan the app on their mobile phone.

Freedom camping was a major issue during her time in office as debate ensued over council bylaws and potential restrictions, especially in Tekapo and Twizel. 

Barlow visited Wagner during her tenure and said she was immediately impressed with how the idea tackled the issue of freedom camping.

"This technology is exactly what I had in mind. The user pays and it makes it simple," she said.

The rubbish and recycling options at KiwiCamp, at the Riverlands Roadhouse near Blenheim.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

The rubbish and recycling options at KiwiCamp, at the Riverlands Roadhouse near Blenheim.

"I just love it, there's a huge amount of thought that has been put into it."

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Barlow would soon use her local government knowledge and contacts to travel the country and pitch the idea to councils.

Freedom camping was something that Wagner was passionate about, as he met his fiancee when she was a freedom camper at his property.

The two were due to wed in the Czech Republic in July.

Kamila Mlejnkova' said the KiwiCamp concept was something that freedom camping needed.

"It's awesome, I was just staying in big car parks when I was travelling," she said.

"This will be paradise for freedom campers."

Wagner understood that 6000 freedom campers had been logged in Marlborough between December and February.

It would be interesting to see what effect his site at the Riverlands Roadhouse might have on that figure come next year, he said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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