Freedom Camping - NZMCA Fires Its Shot!
Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 8:31AM
Bill Barclay

Mayor Leach is nothing if not consistent on the Freedom Camping issue, and he saved his most virulent venom for yesterday's meeting when a paper came forward from Policy Planning suggesting By-law changes that have arisen from the recent public consultation. I for one will never forget his reaction where a couple of young, pin-striped associates from Chen Palmer attended a Council meeting in 2011 to lecture Council on the legal jeopardy it was entering with its new By-law. They were lucky to escape!

The MCA Judicial Challenge goes to court in Hamilton on 16 April, and I fully expect that the legal guns will be turned on our Council at great expense to rate-payers. MCA is well funded of course with well over 40,000 determined members, and executive. 

Leach's response to this piece of legal theatre is understandable, if offensive to some, when one considers the changes to the current By-law that are likely to emerge in order to achieve a level of compromise with the protagonists. He must understand that this will achieve nothing - the MCA is clearly determined to foil any attempt by ours or any other Council to put the Government legislated intentions into practice. They want nothing less than total freedom to park up wherever and however they like. They appear to see the intended aim to restrain unserviced vehicles as a 'red-herring', and promote 'freedom of choice' as everyone's right, no matter in which ways this effects the right of others.  

Their unwillingness to even await the publication of the new proposals speaks volumes in regard their integrity and good faith - somehow or other, the view from those Wellington high rises just seems clouded by its determination to take on the one or two councils that it knows are limited financially, and that seek only to retain the environments that are basically their principle asset.

I trust and hope that our Council is sufficiently alive to the threat to retain the very best legal counsel available. I am frankly sick and tired of the faint air of legal superiority that seems to emanate without respite from the office of Ms Chen, and the MCA suit is no exception. It is time this challenge was put to rest. 




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