A Napier man who faces freedom camping infringement fees totalling more than $1000 is adamant he hasn't broken the bylaw and wants Napier City Council to admit it's got things wrong.

Truck driver Stewart Dempsey has a flat in Napier but after being moved on to night shifts earlier this year said he took to occasionally catching a couple of hours sleep in his van at Westshore Reserve.

"This is the quietest place in Napier to sleep - I would finish night shift at about 5.30am, come here and get a couple of hours sleep then go and have breakfast."

Between May 23 and May 27 this year he received five infringement notices while he was parked up, "not dissimilar to anyone that might come down here for a fish or a kayak", he said.


"I'm not freedom camping and I can prove it - I'm not having a break here for 10 hours I am just getting a couple of hours sleep."

He said the evidence of the time he was parked in his van was recorded in his log book, and that he had lodged complaints with both the council staff involved and their superiors.

"I have gone right to the top and they are refusing to budge."

If he did not want to pay the fines, he said he could apply for a court hearing, but initially felt that doing so would be an admission of guilt, and it would also be difficult to take the time off work to attend.

Going to court was now a probability, however, and he hoped that this process would see the fines dropped.

"It comes down to defining freedom camping, and I know I am right.

"I have had similar issues in Taupo and Queenstown, and in both cases the fines ended up being waived."

He decided to share his experience as he was sick of the public's rights being eroded, he said.

"I want to park where I like within the limits and the time allowed.

"Part of my motivation is to resist people's freedom being stripped away - there's gates and chains going up everywhere, one day these kind of areas will be closed off completely."

The Napier City Council bylaw for the freedom camping section of Westshore Beach Reserve stipulated that vehicles must be certified and self-contained, that people stayed no more than two nights and that there was no camping between December 24 in any year and February 7 the following year.

In addition, as with all freedom camping areas in Napier, people had to get rid of their litter, light no fires, not create a nuisance or noise, park in a legal manner and in formed parking areas, ensure a vehicle did not restrict access to public areas and private land.

A Napier City Council spokesperson said the matter was with the Ministry of Justice so the council was unable to comment until the case had been considered.