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Monday
Aug252014

TCDC Camping By-Law Thrown Out

Mr Justice Cooper gave short shrift to the TCDC Freedom Camping By-Law in a decision handed down today, and reported on the Radio NZ at 5 pm.

He also ruled that amendments on 13 March and 27 November 2013 were unlawful. This is a major blow for our Council -its amendments in June will be unlikely to survive in the circumstances.

Obviously there was insufficient time for a proper examination of the decsion - there is nothing on any of the other news websites. 

More as soon as it becomes available. I will endeavour to track down a copy of the actual decision.

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Reader Comments (5)

https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/the-new-zealand-motor-caravan-association-incorporated-v-thames-coromandel-district-council/at_download/fileDecision

August 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHippie of the North

Hi Bill,

FYI The following is taken verbatim from The NZMCA's latest news letter to its members.
I think it gives a slightly different view.
Note from Coopers judgement that not only was the TCDC's Freedom Camping bylaw declared illegal, but the TCDC's Public Places and Parking Bylaws were also judged to be illegal.
Note also that the NZMCA is calling for reimbursement for illegally collected fines on the basis that because this illegality was freely admitted to in court by the TCDC, there is a moral or ethical reason why reimbursement should be considered.

NZMCA hails High Court decision

NZMCA President Bruce Stanger is hailing the long-awaited High Court judgement over the Thames Coromandel District Council’s consolidated freedom camping bylaws as ‘a tremendous result’ for the organisation.

Delighted that Justice Cooper’s decision has upheld the vast majority of the NZMCA’s concerns with the legality of TCDC’s consolidated freedom camping by-laws, Mr Stanger says the key aspects of the judgement include:

* The amendments TCDC made to its Freedom Camping by-law in 2013 were unlawful; and

* TCDC’s use of Parking Control and Public Places by-laws as an integral part of the council’s consolidated freedom camping by-laws were illegal.

As a result, Justice Cooper has ordered that the Council’s 2013 amendments be ‘severed from the Freedom Camping bylaw and quashed’; he has directed the council to revoke clauses of the Parking Control 2003.5 and Public Places 203.5 bylaws as part of their consolidated freedom camping by-law; and finally to not enforce these by-laws any longer.

“That’s great news for our members who were only ever interested in responsible freedom camping,” said Mr Stanger.

“This decision means they now know that they can no longer be served with unlawful infringement notices, which vindicates the Association’s stance in taking this High Court action.

“With Justice Cooper having ordered that the illegal clauses now be removed from TCDC’s by-laws we can have confidence that the remaining by-law will meet the requirements of the Act.

“However, today’s decision also raises the question of the council refunding those unlawfully-gathered fines. They may not have a legal obligation to do so; but in light of the fact that TCDC conceded in Court that the amendments were made unlawfully – a point on which Justice Cooper agreed – we certainly believe they have a moral obligation to refund the fines to affected members of the public.”

August 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

Dal puts his interesting slant on things but seems to forget that from memory he was a Councillor when the parking bylaw and public places bylaws that covered in part some aspects of using vehicles for sleeping came into force.

My thoughts are that TCDC has done very well on this and its only the amendments that were considered illegal so the 2011 Freedom Camping Bylaw is deemed perfectly legal as are the schedules to those bylaws. From what I have read in the judgement Birkett & Napia should be stoked as there evidence and documentation was well quoted in the judgement.

As an ex TCDC employee I am aware that staff raised the 2013 amendments with senior management and as a result bylaws officers weren't dishing out tickets in these areas......maybe you could dig deeper on this Bill. It seems a joke for all concerned that all the NZMCA got out of this was the wiping of 2 ineffective,unused clauses in the bylaws that were not ever enforced and the quashing of the amendments that were also not enforced. A very expensive exercise for everyone concerned but in the end TCDC are on a good footing for reviewing their bylaw and Glen Leach should be a happy man. As far as refunds are concerned - for what?

August 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWhatever

I am not trying to put my slant on the matter, but to give the slant (and haven't we all got one of those?) put forward by the NZMCA so as to round out the argument.

Incidentally, as a Councillor, I argued against 'sleeping in vehicles' as a means to control camping in public places. I even voted against it at various points in the process - but that was to no avail given the Barriball culture to let staff do whatever (yes I did note that word).

And that's one good thing about Leach - he has maintained a healthy degree of public initiative/leadership even though on the whole his Councillors have proved about as good or bad as the last lot.

The flip side is that he has become a little too dominant - but then power does tend to expand to fill vacuous spaces when given free opportunity!

August 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

Ok, so according to Whaterver staff did raise concerns regarding the amendments made in 2013, when Council management said to NZMCA it believed the amendments were absolutely legitimate? We know hundreds of fines were issued in those areas and if a former employee is correct there was in fact doubt whether this was lawful. Should we just turn a blind eye to this?

Also, while the Council says it didn't want to enforce the LGA bylaws, its communication to the public following the adoption of the bylaw in 2011 certainly said it would and enforcement officers were moving people along in the areas covered by the LGA bylaws. So there is a lot of confusion here between what the Council said it would not do in reports, which contradicts what it said it would do in public newsletters and the actions of enforcement officers.

August 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames Imlach (NZMCA)

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