This is unpleasant, but someone’s gotta say it!
There’s a growing wave of resentment from a lot of well-meaning people directed at freedom camping.
Recently Campbell Live on TV3 spent an impressive amount of time, money and effort in pointing the befouling finger at young foreign tourists — and there were plenty of dinkum Kiwis ready to join in the finger pointing.
Listen to their complaints and it is almost always along the lines of “young foreign tourists are coming to New Zealand to admire our clean, green beauty, they’re renting cheap campervans without toilet facilities on board and leaving disgusting messes in carparks, picnic spots and at the roadside.” These people want these freedom camper vans, and presumably freedom tent camping, banned.
Hard not agree with them when you see the “Wicked” type of campervan parked up overnight in places where the nearest toilet is 30 kilometres away. The occupants either have bladders as tough as hot water bottles and sphincter muscles that will crush rocks, or they are going toilet behind the bush. It’s logical to expect they will go behind the bushes..
But, hey, hey, hey! Let’s not point the finger only at young foreign tourists in their graffiti covered Wicked campers . . . . New Zealanders are among the worst countryside abusers and biggest litter-bugs in the developed world.
How many New Zealanders have campervans without toilet facilities on board?
I am on the road almost constantly around New Zealand and on places like the Kaikoura Coast there are always big truck and trailer units parked somewhere with the drivers in the little cabin at the back, taking his compulsory rest. Where does the driver go to make his insides feel comfortable when he wakes? Does he drive on to the nearest toilet, legs crossed, jiggling and going purple in the face holding it all back? Or does he go behind a bush? It’s the latter, because I’ve seen it. The other day I passed a big rig with the driver out, pointing percy at the offside rear wheel, in full daylight! I
When hunters go into the bush to shoot a deer or two, do they take plastic poo-poo bags in with them, or do they take a dump behind a bush?
How about our daring young mountain bike riders on a day long ride — where do they go when they are up in the hills?
On a Sunday morning, go and have a look at any car-parking area that’s within a kilometre or two of a McDonalds, or a Burger King, or a Wendys and see the disgusting mess. Okay, it might not necessarily always be toilet mess, but it’s a mess just the same and so we are setting the scene for visitors — “New Zealanders don’t care, so why should we?”
Stroll beaches outside the big cities and you’ll find litter and rubbish of every description. Many of the picnic areas in less populated areas are health risks from every kind of waste that human beings can cast from empty beer bottles to faeces.
I’ve had to move on from reasonably remote campsites because when I’ve gone to locate the source of a horde of blowflies I’ve been confronted by piles of human waste.
Once at Piano Flat in the back of the Old Man Range that separates Central Otago from Southland, the Navigator and I arrived in this lonely spot to find what we presumed were a father and son spending quality time together, sleeping under the stars. They had the best camping spot — alongside the river and well sheltered. After two days they left and we moved in only to move out again immediately. They had left a mountain of faeces that was so big mountaineers could have trained on its slopes. Wearing gas masks of course.
If young foreign tourists are using this country as a toilet where are they drawing their inspiration from? They see Kiwis littering, dropping rubbish, dropping empty beer bottles, peeing and pooing at the roadside and they assume it’s some sort of South Seas custom. Five years ago, camping with my family in remote sandhills on 90 Mile Beach, we had to spend an entire morning picking up a mountain of litter; rubbish and muck to make the campsite habitable.
Talk about hypocrisy.
Wicked campervans and the young foreign tourists are the easy target. Uncaring Kiwis are a far, far bigger issue.