Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

A Right To Camp?

15/10/2019

In recent weeks Responsible Campers Association Incorporated (RCAi) has become involved in some high level discussions about our right to camp. This began out of discussion about the disabled who which to participate in Sport and Recreation activities.

The Freedom Camping Act 2011, section 11(2) states;

A local Authority may make a bylaw under subsection (1) only if it is satisfied that…

C; the bylaw is not inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill,of Rights Act 1990.

For a clause like that to even be included in Government Legislation is confirmation that we have a “Right” to camp and such rights can only be removed by an Act of Parliament which has not nor is ever likely to happen.

We note that traditional camping in tents and bivouacs is something that dates back to the first New Zealand settlers, who commonly camped until they had Houses built.

In more recent times this camping has more commonly known as “freedom camping” and has grown to include non traditional modes of camping using Motor-homes and Caravans.

The Bill of Rights Act states

“28 OTHER RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS NOT AFFECTED

An existing right or freedom shall not be held to be abrogated or restricted by reason only that the right or freedom is not included in this Bill of Rights or is included only in part.”

Therefore even though camping is not specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights that does NOT exclude it as a “right”.

The right to camp is therefore confirmed.

How does the Bill of Rights, then apply to any restrictions placed on the ‘Right to Camp’?

Currently the biggest restriction made on Freedom Campers by Councils all over New Zealand is a requirement to be certified as self contained as provided by NZS;5465 (Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans).

The Bill of Rights Act states;

5 Justified limitations
Subject to section 4, the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights may be subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

While meantime the Freedom Camping Act says;

11(2) A local Authority may make a bylaw under subsection (1) only if it is satisfied that…

B; the bylaw is the most appropriate and proportionate way of addressing the perceived problem in relation to that area and…. (To clarify a Bylaw must be compliant in every way).

As, at the time the Freedom Camping Act became law in 2011, fines for littering and unlawful disposal of waste fluid, sewage etc already existed and were included in every Councils Bylaws- the enactment of the Self Containment Standard was an unreasonable restriction on Campers. The Freedom Camping Act itself gave Council’s more power to enforce those bylaws by allowing the use of ‘instant fines’ and other enforcement avenues.

That the self containment standard is applicable only to ‘non’ traditional campers ie Caravans & Motor-homes also makes it an unjustified restriction (- only Motor-homes and Caravans can be certified as self contained). The Freedom Camping Act does not mention the ‘Self containment Standard (NZS;5465)” and defines all the above modes (Tents, Motor-homes and even homeless sleeping in cars,etc) as a method of Camping.

Fortunately for those that camp by means other than Caravans & Motor-homes they too can be ‘self contained’ which is simply the ability to retain waste until it can be disposed of properly in facilities that are ’fit for purpose’.

The self containment standard forces all those that comply with it, to be self sufficient in regards to ‘containment of waste water and solid waste’ for a minimum period of 3 days. Too bad that week ends are only 2 days or that those wanting a single night down the local beach, have to meet these rather absurd requirements. This again is an unjustified restriction.

The Standard also has specific requirements in regards to waste tanks vents and other specifics, such as fresh water, which in dictating those requirements far exceeds just being a solution to the problems to which it is setting out to solve. Therefore in that regard it is also too restrictive.

Responsible Campers Association Incorporated in ongoing Council communication’s has often heard that the Self Containment Standard was the only method of restriction available at the time, (the Freedom Camping Act became Law), BUT was any restriction even necessary given the bylaws etc already available?

Should a Council have sites only suitable to Caravans and Motor-homes then a simple sign stating tents etc were not permitted would have sufficed. One would expect that any restriction or non-availability of sites suitable for tents could in itself also be an unreasonable restriction given the Freedom Camping Act defines Tents as a mode and prohibits Councils from unreasonable restrictions.

*Having defined what our Bill of Rights says and what is currently wrong with the main restriction enforced by some (not all) Councils what can be appropriate to ensure Campers are responsible?

Certainly any restriction based on the mode of camping is likely to be ineffective - 28 years of the Self Containment Standard has proved that while failing to recognize that education is the greatest need.

*Is self containment therefore unlawful as in being too restrictive on our Rights?

No self containment itself is not, however any requirement to be “certified’ definitely is - but its not unreasonable to expect all Campers (and in fact everyone) to be self contained which is simply to retain waste till it can be disposed of properly in facilities fit for purpose.

*What can be implemented that meets the requirements of the Bill of Rights to be “Justified in a fair and democratic Society”?

Any program that places the onus on the people camping that ensures they are educated in the expectations and principals of Freedom Camping, would meet the requirements of the Bill of Rights. Such a requirement would be an reasonable expectation to protect our environment while not being too restrictive.

* If Caravans and Motor-homes are not traditional methods of camping, does that mean they are excluded from protection under the Bill of Rights.

We can’t answer that - it would require a declaration from the Human Rights Commission or High Court and would depend how far back a traditional right can be held to apply. Certainly the Freedom Camping Act defines them all, as a method of camping.

Some Councils are now developing education for freedom campers based on the program Responsible Campers Association Inc developed with Council input,and uses for the issue of their Accredited Responsible Campers cards. Many Council’s are becoming aware of the numerous issues with Certified Self Containment thanks largely to the work of Responsible Campers Association Inc . Responsible Campers Association Inc made the suggestion for education and camper cards way back in March 2018 when our Freedom Camping Report was published and sent to all MP’s and other stakeholders. It is pleasing to note that even Tourism New Zealand has now sought to educate Campers. Up until recently very little education was available for Freedom campers and what was available was rather piecemeal.

We realize this expose, will create problems for Councils, including those that have issued consents for non-compliant camp grounds, based on assurance that the Campers concerned meet the requirements of the self containment standard, however the issue of non-compliance with the Bill of Rights has been raised before and Councils should have done due-diligence prior to enacting any bylaws or resource consents.

Meantime Government is happy to fund Council’s operating in breach of our rights via the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Responsible Campers Association has become an Incorporated Society.

Our constitution demands we act for all kiwi campers in an unbiased manner.

http://www.accreditedcampernz.com


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, lest he be carried away in the slavering jaws of Jack Tame…. but this was mere incompetence, not malice. At the same time the President of the United States was (a) falsely accusing one of his media critics of murder, and (b) threatening to shut down Twitter for attaching a warning label to Trump’s attempt at poisoning the electoral process by falsely claiming that postal voting has led to extensive voter fraud... More>>


 


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>

ALSO:

National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>

ALSO:

Lockdown Rules: Timeline For Moving To Level 1 Needed

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to Covid level 1. The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>

ALSO:


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19 Response: Law Setting Up Legal Framework For Covid-19 Alert Level 2 Passes


The law establishing a legal framework for the response to Covid-19 has passed its final reading and will become law in time for the move to Alert Level 2 tonight.
This is a bespoke Act designed specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19... More>>

ALSO:


Trans-Tasman Bubble: PMs Jacinda And Morrison Announce Plans

Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>

ALSO:

The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>

ALSO:

Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>

ALSO:


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels