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Freedom Camping Bylaw now in force

New Freedom Camping Bylaw in force this month

Thank you for all of your submissions around Freedom Camping in our district, there were 74 in total!

Deliberations were held on 22 November 2023 and the Freedom Camping Bylaw was adopted with some minor amendments. The adopted Bylaw came into effect on Wednesday, 20 December 2023.

The main points to note are:

  • Any vehicles used for freedom camping must be certified self-contained, as detailed under the Freedom Camping Act
  • Freedom campers can only park in an area for a maximum of four nights within a one-month period, and then must move on to an area at least 500m away.
  • There are certain areas where freedom camping will be prohibited or restricted - this is to either to protect the area, access to the area, or the people using the area.

Amendments made to the proposed Bylaw and RMPs based on submissions received include:

  • Amendment to include all sections of the Freedom Camping Act that the Bylaw is made under, to reflect that some NZTA land is included as defined in Schedule 1, and to provide for the inclusion of Schedule 3 to capture any future areas for freedom camping in vehicles that are not self-contained.
  • Amendment of the description of Cemeteries in Schedule 1 to include ‘and adjacent roadsides’ to capture cemeteries without formed car parks which utilise roadside parking.
  • Minor amendments to the General Policies RMP, to update the definition of certified self-contained within section 5.2 Defined Terms to ensure alignment with the definition of self-contained within the Freedom Camping Act 2011, and to update the introductory section under 8.4 Camping to reflect that Council now has a Freedom Camping Bylaw.

The changes to the RMPs are as follows:

  • Amendment to the RMP for Herries Memorial Park and Waihou Recreation Reserve which are within the Council’s Active RMP, and the RMP for Hetana Street Reserve and Waitoa Railway Reserve which are within Council’s Passive RMP. This is to allow for some restricted freedom camping as consistent with the Bylaw.
  • Amendment to Appendix E of the Active RMP to remove reference to Te Aroha Domain as a potential site for freedom camping, to make the RMP consistent with the prohibition of this area.

The Bylaw and information about Freedom Camping in the District can be found here and Reserve Management Plans are available to read here. These are also available for viewing at all Council Offices and Libraries.