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Minimising the impacts of freedom camping

Media Release
Minimising the impacts of freedom camping

7 April 2008

A “responsible freedom camping code” setting out information and advice for visitors on respecting the environment and camping responsibly, is being developed by the New Zealand Freedom Camping Forum.

It will include clear direction in several languages on acceptable disposal of toilet waste and rubbish, and links to information about where freedom camping is allowed.

The Freedom Camping Forum was convened by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) following growing concerns about the impacts of freedom camping in several parts of the country. It includes representatives from rental vehicle companies, central and local government, Tourism New Zealand, the Holiday Accommodation Parks Association New Zealand (HAPNZ), Police, regional tourism organisations, Transit New Zealand, the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

“Freedom camping in the wrong places or without appropriate management is having negative environmental, social and economic impacts in several regions. Freedom camping is a popular way to enjoy New Zealand and there will always be people who want to travel that way, but we must minimise the negative impacts,” TIA Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs says.

Freedom camping is not limited to campervan users, she notes. It also applies to people who park campervans, caravans or cars or pitch tents outside designated camping grounds. Both New Zealanders and international visitors freedom camp.

In addition to improved visitor information, the Freedom Camping Forum also plans to ensure that nationally consistent signage is used so visitors can easily see where they can and cannot stay overnight as they travel around the country.
Freedom camping policy guidelines are also being developed to assist local councils. These will set out principles councils will be able to use in putting together detailed freedom camping policies for their own regions.

The Forum aims to meet again in September, prior to the 2008-09 visitor season.

ENDS

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