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Freedom Camping

Here is the proposed new bylaw to be approved on Wednesday:

Draft Camping Bylaw

It appears to follow closely on the submissions made previously, and although there is likely tro be outrage expressed by camp ground owners and operators, there does not appear to be anything trhat should concern the average camper, or operator of a fully self contained vehicle.

Here is Schedule A - the areas where camping is prohibited:

Schedule A

Schedule B which constitutes the all-important areas where camping is allowed has still not been produced - or at least, does not yet appear on the website. I will post it as soon as it goes up. 

The Hearings and Deliberations meeting on Wednesday will presumably 'nail down' the by-law after submitters have been heards, but I do not anticipate any major changes. 

The paper accompanying the by-law hearings is as follows:

Camping By-law Paper

You will note that both Whangamata and  Tairua/Pauanui CB's have been active in defining areas that they wish to be listed under Schedule B. The others CB's are clearly not so keen to even define such areas, but it will happen anyway because it is a legislated requirement.

Note also that it is proposed that the By-law will come into effect on 12 December 2011. That does not provide any time at all to define the contents of Schedule B, so it may be assumed that it is already drawn up and ready to go, but failure to adopt the By-law will not prevent the current By-law that forbids freedom camping from being enforced - but this does not allow for fines, and is seldom used. 

Note the anguished submission from the Motor Caravan Association that in effect threatens legal action to prevent enforcement, but Council's own legal advice is that the By-law is legally sound, and enforceable. Expect more squealing and fire and brimstone from the MCA. It is ironic that they were initially invited to participate in enforcement - a ridiculous concept at best, but are now completely off-side. Comments by Mayor Leach indicate exasperation with the MCA, and the highly orchestrated publicity that it has organised, both locally and nationally.

TCDC are leading the way, and is to be commended for the action it has taken to comply with the Act.

Let us hope that the By-law can be enacted without any futrher ado, and with as little amendment as possible. 



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Reader Comments (2)

Hi Bill,

Whilst we (NZMCA) support TCDC creating a new bylaw under the FCA to help deter irresponsible freedom camping, our submission highlighted some fundamental flaws. After review, Council acknowledged in its current format the draft bylaw was open to challenge and needed to be tightened up. The NZMCA is not after free reign for freedom campers, rather any restrictions put in place to be made in line with the new legislation - no different to bylaws made under the LGA. Both of which have regard to the Bill of Rights.

Surely you do not support local government creating bylaws outside their jurisdiction i.e. taking into account irrelevant considerations?

What exactly is your issue with freedom campers in CSC vehicles?


December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Imlach (NZMCA)

Thank you James for your comments. It is simply that you and I have a completely different view of the by-law as it has been drafted. It was adopted today with few alterations - certainly none that are likely to satisfy your organisation. I expect it to be tested in court, and if found wanting, I will be the first to acknowledge same, subject of course to any appeal process.
I don't understand your ultimate query - as far as I am concerned, all campers are equal, and entitled to camp within the confines of related by-laws. I do object to any particular category obtaining rights over and above those of anyone else, including the apparent desire of MCA to obtain such advantage for its members - i.e. to be able to park on Council reserves at will, regardless of by-law schedules.

December 14, 2011 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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