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Freedom Camping Bill passed into law

Freedom Camping Bill passed into law

New laws to better manage freedom camping will take affect in time for the Rugby World Cup with the passing of the Freedom Camping Bill tonight, say Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson and Minister for the Environment Nick Smith.
"Freedom camping is an important part of our tourism industry and is a great Kiwi tradition and we want to see that continue," Ms Wilkinson says.

"The presumption is that freedom camping is allowed except where councils and the Department of Conservation have specifically prohibited it.

"This legislation targets irresponsible campers that are spoiling our most iconic areas with human waste and litter and angering the communities that host them.

"Introducing an instant fine serves as a deterrent and provides councils and DOC with the enforcement tools needed to protect our most pristine spots."

"This law gives councils the practical tools to control freedom camping. It is a very pragmatic response to the real problem of freedom campers spoiling some of our most iconic places," Dr Smith says.

"Councils have been asking for greater clarity for years and this law allows for councils to define where people can freedom camp, where they can camp subject to self-containment, and where they cannot.

"Freedom campers have doubled over the past decade to 150,000 and the number of complaints for polluting picnic spots has grown in areas like Queenstown by more than five-fold.

"This is a practical law that addresses a growing problem. It will better protect public health, protect iconic spots, and protect New Zealand's clean, green brand."

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