Is freedom camping free enough?

On Monday evening I attended the public meeting on the proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw.

The short version is that freedom camping is legal everywhere NZ unless expressly prohibited. This is governed by the Freedom Camping Act 2011 (from Parliament) and some of the rules are out of the hands of the council.

Councils have the ability to specify areas where it's restricted or banned but they need to be able to justify it. The grounds for restrictions can be to protect an area, access to an area or the health and safety of people in the area.

For Howick there are 12 sites where freedom camping is banned and a further 7 where it's restricted to self-contained vehicles. I encourage you to look at the online maps, but there's list of each here.

Are these the only places in our community where there needs to be a restriction or ban?

In addition, Auckland Council can

  • apply a temporary ban or restriction on a place;

  • provide exceptions or extensions for people;

  • fine people who break the rules.

Once this bylaw is passed, changing these sites will not be quick or easy so it's important that we get this correct.

The Council is looking for feedback on this proposal up until Monday 18 February. Providing feedback can be done a few different ways, but online is super easy. There's a quick form including a really clever interactive map.

So make sure you get your thoughts through on this today at the Auckland Council website

EnvironmentDamian Light