Pull your socks up tourists? & your pants!

* photographic representation of what happened

The freedom camping lark is bad enough but now we have to put up with tourists using our main streets as a toilet. The people of Ashburton were shocked on Friday to see a tour bus pull up a short distance from the public toilet facilities and the off loaded passengers scurried to the side of the road to relieve themselves. What were they thinking?

People come to New Zealand for the 100% pure experience, the natural beauty, the clean air and the pristine environment, only to pollute it with bad manners and bad attitudes.

I don?t know what country or region these tourists called home, and it probably doesn?t matter. What matters is that in New Zealand, this behaviour is unacceptable.  Where ever the pant pulling pee?ers in Ashburton?s main street came from, they have let us and themselves down. Badly.

I have seen so called freedom campers do the same thing but the only freedom is the perceived freedom to leave their rubbish and human waste behind for others to deal with.

As one tourist operator in The Catlins said

”We absolutely need to move away from the name and idea of ‘freedom’ camping. It’s not free for ratepayers, it costs businesses their livelihood, and it shouldn’t be free – and therefore seen as valueless – for this sector of visitors.” end quote.

The opportunity  to camp beside a crystal clear stream in the middle of the New Zealand bush is a privilege, and with that, comes responsibility and accountability.  Clean up when you leave and ensure that the picturesque spot is as pure and pristine as when you arrived.

According to Tourism New Zealand, tourism was confirmed as New Zealand?s top export in 2016 pumping over $14.5 billion into the economy and directly employing over 188,000 people.

I cannot help but make a comparison to newly arrived immigrants or refugees. All we ask is that they abide by our rules, our way of life, our code of behaviour and our sense of right and wrong. That way, we all benefit from the wonder of living in one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

When you come to our home, don?t bring your rubbish with you or leave it behind for us to clean up.

In the case of the Ashburton bottom bearers, it is alleged that the tour guide ordered the charter bus driver to stop. That needs to be addressed. It should be part of the contract obligation that the tour guide and his or her party will not have the right to order the driver to do something that was unsafe or unsanitary.

This issue of using New Zealand as a toilet or a rubbish tip is unacceptable and something needs to be done to stop it happening. If we don’t, New Zealand will become, not the Land of the Long White Cloud, but the Land of the Long Brown Latrine.