Monday, May 16, 2011

National's war on freedom (campers)

New Zealand has an environmental problem. No, not the millions of cows pumping their shit into our waterways and making our lakes and rivers unswimmable, or the cars and cows spewing carbon dioxide and destroying the climate. Not even the poor air-quality, due to lax regulation of industrial and vehicle particulate emissions, which kills over a thousand people every year. No, our environmental problem is freedom campers, and the government has decided to Do Something and eradicate them.

You can see why: freedom campers are messy, untidy, and occasionally leave their shit lying around for other people to tread in (which is not just unsightly, but also a health hazard). But these problems could be solved, by (for example) providing free public facilities, backed by fines for pollution. Instead, they've decided to enable and encourage councils to ban camping, with instant spot fines. You'd almost think they were more interested in pushing people to use private, for profit campgrounds than in solving the actual problem...

But while this will lead to tidier roadsides and public reserves, it is also a massive attack on the rights of New Zealanders. Its not just foreign tourists who camp in public space; these sorts of camping holidays are a long kiwi tradition. National would outlaw that tradition, unless you pay one of their mates for the privilege. When you look at it like that, their policy represents a further privatisation of New Zealand. And all kiwis are the losers.