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Freedom Camping, After The Lock-down

One thing is abundantly clear, when this lock down is over, many tourism related businesses will be reliant on Domestic Tourism to stay afloat.

But what will that mean from a Freedom Camping point of view?

While it has been true, that many towns have not had permissive freedom camping rules as intended by the Freedom Camping Act, others have been open to Campers of all modes and abilities.

For too long, many Councils have relied on an incorrect misinterpretation of what is defined as “freedom camp” within the Act, and have further added to discernment by enforcing restrictions that only a minority of Freedom Campers can comply with - certified self containment. Isn’t it questionable how it is also this group of certified self contained campers alone, that appears to gathers all the freedom camping complaints?

Some towns have entered into contractual arrangements with organizations that promote their towns, Tourist attractions and events to specific groups of Campers - Motorhomes, while apparently ignoring anyone else. It remains to be seen what support these Towns can expect to receive in the future.

Responsible Campers Association has highlighted the request of many Responsible Freedom Campers, to correlate information from Councils into an easy to understand format that can be quickly accessed. To achieve that they have, last week, sent all Councils an official Information Survey, so the results can be widely published. The survey covers issues such as tent camping, Certified self containment restrictions, availability of toilets etc. From this information it is expected that Campers can choose what Towns they wish to support.

The group has welcomed the announcement from Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis yesterday, that a review of the Tourism Industry will be undertaken - something they have been stating needs to happen for the past 2 years particularly as it relates to Freedom Camping.

Issues around the supply of Toilets etc have been given wide media coverage over the past 2 years with the Association encouraging NZTA to fund and provide toilets alongside state highways last year, for the use of all travelers not just Freedom campers. The Association says we as a Country fall behind other Western Countries in this respect, but are now pleased to see the first NZTA provided toilets being constructed and commissioned around Kaikoura as part of the rebuild.

This is what other Countries do, the Roading Authority provides the toilets on main routes not the local councils.

The Association expects that any review concerned with freedom camping under the Tourism sector, will be based on the correct interpretation of what a Freedom Camper is- as provided by the Act, not the one promoted to Councils by big business disguised as RV clubs. Just last week the Association has emailed a report on this issue to all Councils, mainstream media and the Minister’s office.

One thing is clear - the many outdoors groups that camp within 200 metres of a ‘motor vehicle accessible area’ are very aware of the impacts of the Freedom Camping Act and Council bylaws on their chosen activities, including which Bylaws are lawful as being compliant with the Camping legislation and which are not.

Responsible Campers Association Incorporated shall be closely monitoring the review road ahead and as their Constitution demands, stand for fairer camping rules for all Responsible Campers regardless of mode or club affiliations

© Scoop Media

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