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Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

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Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

Freedom campers could face $200 instant fines for illegal camping or fines of up to $10,000 for illegally dumping campervan waste under a proposed new law.

The Freedom Camping Bill will be introduced to Parliament this month with the measures to be in place ahead of the Rugby World Cup, Environment Minister Nick Smith announced today.

Dr Smith said freedom camping was important to the tourism industry and the New Zealand lifestyle, but irresponsible campers were spoiling iconic areas with human waste and litter.

The number of freedom campers had doubled in the past decade to 40,000 local and 110,000 international campers.

"The existing system where each of our 67 districts has its own bylaws is not working for the responsible freedom camper wanting to do the right thing or for councils wanting to protect their local environment," Dr Smith said.

The new law would enable councils to determine where camping was allowed, where it was restricted to campervans with self-containment, and where it was prohibited.

The Department of Conservation would be able to introduce similar rules on its reserves.

The proposed law would include practical enforcement measures and introduce nationally consistent signage and a website showing where people could camp nationally.

Illegal campers would be slapped with a $200 instant fine, to be imposed on the camper or the vehicle.

Courts would be able to impose fines of up to $10,000 for illegally discharging a campervan's sewage, and new regulations would require campervan hire companies to record and disclose details so fines could be enforced.

Dr Smith said there needed to be national consistency because freedom campers were mostly unaware of what district they were in from one day to the next.

"But we also want to protect the rights of local communities to decide where freedom camping is to be allowed."

The Government would work hard with councils to ensure the new laws were in place for the 85,000 visitors expected for the Rugby World Cup, which would help protect the environment and New Zealand's "clean, green tourism brand".

- NZPA

Its about time too ( My comment)

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1. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

Great to see they are moving quickly on this subject and hopefully everyone will be aware of what is required.

A level playing field will make is easier for all involved. Thanks Bean for posting

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2. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

yep :)

Cambridge
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3. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

I blogged recently about freedom camping - with a slightly different viewpoint... have a read at

kiwiblogbus.com/2012/…

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4. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

It is always the irresponsible minority which stuff things up for the majority. Unfortunately irresponsible freedom campers seem to be in the majority not the minority these days. If this wasnt the case then the punitive action now required by many local bodies wouldnt have been necessary

I note that Kiwiannison although observing despicable actions doesnt appear to have stuck her neck out and tried to stop such behaviour. Pity.

Edited: 01 March 2012, 22:39
Cambridge
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5. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

Believe me... if we'd actually witnessed littering I would have done something.

What I have said is that we have witnessed the effects of these littering louts.

We have pulled in at small laybys (where anything larger than a family car just wouldn't fit) and seen dirty nappies on the ground, broken bottles, drinks cans. Someone had dumped a huge stack of newspapers, fliers and cardboard (maybe they'd missed their recycling day).

We were once in beautiful regional park and walked past a car pulled up by a stream and a group of young men sat out by the water. When we walked back to our own camper later the car had gone but the area was strewn with pizza boxes and drinks containers.

Often while we are parked in our campervan - car loads of people come to the same spot during the night and we awake to litter of all descriptions.

You say I have not stuck my neck out ...

We can pick up their litter and leave the place tidy but there's very little else I can do about the unseen culprits (apart from maybe blogging about the issue and bringing to the forefront that it is not ALWAYS freedom campers causing this problem)

I very much disagree about your comment of irresponsible freedom campers being the majority - the press have (as usual) blown up any bad incidences but you hear very little about the tens of thousands of responsible campers that travel around NZ leaving no trace of their stay.

The motorhome association (NZMCA) has been working hard - and involving councils - to get a self-containment scheme up and running so responsible campers can stay in official freedom camping spots.

so the punitive actions that councils are taking are often instigated by the campers themselves - who are fed up of people giving them a hard time and just want to know where they can stay in this beautiful country of ours.

Freedom camping is certainly not what it used to be, it's changing and developing with the needs of the times, but then again - it seems that the culture of travellers (be it local or not) is also changing.... I imagine that the word "litter" is used a lot more in this generation - with reason.

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6. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

Thanks for the last post.

I think it is well over due for the councils along with the aid of National Govt. step down on the people that do this littering. We need the fear of god put into the culprits. A bit like when you visit Singapore , they cleaned that place up with stiff fines. Our councils post signs saying fines for littering, but its easier money to hand out tickets to parked cars. I would like to see something done about people leaving the country without paying the fines, thats where the problem lays. They know they can get away with it.

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7. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

I couldnt agree more with Trelawn, I believe there was a forum here recently where a traveller was asking whether they should pay their biosecurity fine or just leave the country and ignore it. The systems should be robust enough to pick these people up at the border before they leave.

Try to do it as a New Zealander leaving here with unpaid fines, if we are to believe the current TV ads you will be going nowhere.

Cairns
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8. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

I agree with clamping down on campers who are not self sufficent being able to freedom camp.Could the registration dept of vehicles ask for an extra small fee when registering your vehicle to supply and register a sticker which is to be displayed on the windowscreen to show that the vehicle is self contained. If the vehicle does not have the sticker it is instant fine to the owner either on the spot or through the mail to the registered owners postal address. Kiwi to Oz

Queenstown, New...
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9. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

Good idea.

Wellington, New...
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10. Re: Legislation to clampdown on Freedom Campers

The problem with YVonnes suggestion is that despite some vehicles not being self contained their users are tidy kiwis or tidy visitors. Not all campervan users are litterbugs. It is the few that are stuffing things up for the many as is the case with most instances in life.