Tourism Minister Stuart Nash says he's never defecated on the side of the road, after announcing plans to ban tourists from hiring vans that are not self-contained so that people wouldn't do so.
"We get all these vans driving round at the moment that are not self-contained, so the driver or the passenger wants to go to the toilet - we all know examples of this - they pull over to the side of the road and they shit in our waterways," Nash earlier told RNZ.
When asked today if he'd ever found himself short himself and gone to the toilet on the side of the road, Nash said he hadn't.
"No, I always go before I leave home."
Nash was in Queenstown today on his first visit since taking up the tourism portfolio.
The region, usually booming with overseas visitors including backpackers and the rich, has suffered since Covid-19 forced New Zealand's borders shut.
Nash said it was an opportunity, though, to bring the focus back to domestic tourism, targetting wealthy visitors to spend big when borders open, and to connect with New Zealand's clean, green message again.
"We'd love people to come over here, hire a campervan that they can dispose of their own waste in. What we don't want is people coming here and when they need to go to the toilet they stop on the side of the road because there are no facilities and they go to the toilet on the side of the road.
"That's not who we are as a nation, it's not part of our global brand and I don't think it's the sort of tourist that New Zealanders want to see in our country."
Nash doesn't expect the ban on non-self contained vans would make a difference to visitor numbers, though.
"We're a very attractive destination for a whole raft of tourists right across the socio-economic spectrums and I think tourists will turn up here but they just need to know when you come to New Zealand there are some rules you need to abide by.
"They need to buy into our sustainability brand and what we stand for as a country and defecating on the side of the road and waterways is not who we are as a nation."
Nash also called on Kiwis to "live the brand" too, saying it wasn't just tourists coping the blame.