Govt to consider freedom camping changes

Freedom camping changes are being considered. Photo/John Stone
Freedom camping changes are being considered. Photo/John Stone

Councils could be given more powers to curb the impact of freedom camping.

Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said the Government was considering ways to improve the management of freedom camping.

This could include widening councils' infringement powers, Lotu-Iiga said.

He was responding to reports Christchurch City Council is consulting on a blanket ban on freedom camping in vehicles without self-contained toilet facilities.

"Freedom camping is growing and is an important part of our tourism industry but councils are understandably concerned that it is appropriately managed. The Freedom Camping Act was a good first step but has not solved all the issues."

Councils had told him greater powers were needed and he had asked officials to look at options as part of the review of council regulatory tools.

As well as considering the widening of infringement powers available to councils, different approaches councils were taking to freedom camping would also be considered, he said.

However, an outright ban on freedom camping on vehicles without self-contained toilet facilities was not realistic, Lotu-Iiga said.

"New Zealanders have a tradition of heading out into the great outdoors to enjoy this beautiful country of ours. This shouldn't be reserved for just those who can afford to hire self-contained vehicles".

The Department of Internal Affairs is leading the review in collaboration with councils, Local Government New Zealand, the Society of Local Government Managers, and relevant central government agencies.

Officials are expected to report back in September with options before the summer camping season.

- NZ Herald

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