A bylaw proposed to regulate freedom camping in the Whangarei district could show the way for other districts, according to the NZ Motor Caravan Association boss.

Whangarei District Council's Camping in Public Places bylaw is open for submissions. It proposes a list of restricted sites where camping is limited to designated sites or marked parking spaces.

Under the bylaw nine areas will be open to all types of camping, within 50m of a public toilet.

Read more: Freedom camping bylaw open for submissions


New Zealand Motor Caravan Association chief executive Bruce Lochore believed the council had gone about the latest bylaw "very well".

Campers in non self-contained vehicles will be permitted in 20 areas, also within 50m of a public toilet. At all of these sites, campers will be able to stay for only one night.

A list of 28 prohibited sites is also included in the bylaw. For any other council land not specified, camping is permitted for three nights in a self-contained vehicle.

Last year, the council scrapped a proposed freedom camping bylaw which only allowed for self-contained units, after public feedback.

"I think they have made a really good fist of trying to cater for all types of freedom camping," Mr Lochore said.

He said other regions have attempted to include non self-contained units in their regulations but it had backfired because areas had been overwhelmed with visitors.

He said allowing non self-contained campers at 20 sites was a strong point.

"I'm hopeful if it works, it could be a blueprint for the rest of the country."


Mr Lochore said the association submitted on last year's bylaw and will be submitting again on this one. He said it will be in support, but will be suggesting a few adjustments.
One of those is the length of stay being extended from one night to two or three.

Mr Lochore said the council would be "limiting themselves" to some of the advantages of having freedom campers in town - such as campers spending money in local shops - if stays are limited to one night.

He wanted to see Far North District Council adopt a similar approach so there was consistency across the North.