The contentious issue of ‘shower stealers’ has reared its controversial head again across the Tasman.
The phenomenon of free-camping travellers sneaking into New Zealand’s caravan parks to avail themselves of amenities block facilities has got some blood pressures rising.
It seems that legislation introduced last year to curb so-called freedom camping has had little effect there. The Freedom Camping Act prohibits camping in areas clearly identified with relevant signage. Breaches can result in instant $200 fines, or up to $10,000 for more serious offending.
However, kiwi park owners say the problem is as bad as ever.
Jelena and Rodney Algie, who run Mawley Park Motor Camp in Masterton, say people still sneak in to use shower and laundry facilities.
“There was some who would pay for one night and they weren’t so bad because at least they would pay something,” Mr Algie told the Wairarapa Times-Age newspaper. “It’s hard. What usually happens is one person will book in and one will stay in the car. Then, when you’re walking around and you see a stranger, you wouldn’t be sure if they are legitimate or have snuck in. This year we have decided to lock our laundry.”
The shower stealing phenomenon is one which has also been reported by park owners in Australia. It seems that even the introduction of coded key pads and the handing of physical keys to legitimate van park visitors in some parks hasn’t been enough to keep the determined and patient shower stealer at bay.
Some park owners fear that the trend may increase as rising van park prices and surging fuel costs combine to make long-term trips around Australia even harder to afford.
Are you a shower stealer? Is shower stealing a cheeky and victimless act or blatant theft?