A row is brewing in Taupo over freedom campers - the mayor claims they bring in cash, while a campsite owner says they're urinating in public and taking over the waterfront.
Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort general manager Kathy Wilson says they have been losing $10,000 a month or 20 per cent of campsite trade since Taupo District Council allowed campervans to park up overnight on the edge of Lake Taupo.
Since August last year, up to 30 motorhomes with toilet facilities on board have been allowed to park in the designated area on Ferry Rd for up to two days at a time.
But Ms Wilson told NZ Newswire up to 80 motorhomes, vans, tents and cars are taking up over three carpark areas along the strip at one time.
These people are littering, urinating outside, swimming naked and generally creating an eyesore, she says.
Ms Wilson, who says up to 150 accommodation providers in the area support her view, has taken her complaints to the council but they aren't taking her seriously.
She says the council should not allow anyone to stay overnight and wants more vigilant policing.
However, mayor Rick Cooper told NZ Newswire Ms Wilson's claims weren't true, saying he'd had a "gutsful of it".
"I don't like people that tell half-truths, I don't suffer fools easily," he said.
"We have a designated area for accredited motorhomes that are fully self contained - they are not freedom campers."
When asked about photos showing people camping along the waterfront, he said: "I would go so far as to say it's very easy to stage photographs".
The area is checked four times a night for freedom campers who "occasionally" set up camp and were told to move on.
There are no plans to stop motorhomes parking up overnight as these travellers contributed to the local economy by spending money at bars, cafes, restaurants and shops, he said.