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19 Mar 2018 23:31
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    Freedom camping working group set up

    A working group has been set up to consider the thorny issues around freedom camping, but the National Party have said it is all talk but no action.

    Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has announced the establishment of a working group to consider solutions towards freedom camping.

    Freedom camping is on the rise in New Zealand and there have been regular stories in the media about some freedom campers who create a mess for local councils to clean up.

    Mr Davis met on Thursday with 32 mayors and deputy mayors from across the country in Wellington about the issue.

    ""The meeting was very productive... the issues with freedom camping are not insurmountable and there is a clear willingness from everyone to work together and find solutions," he said.

    "Freedom camping is a complex area - [they] bring economic benefits to our regions, but the behaviour of a small percentage and the sheer increase in volume of freedom campers is causing real problems for some councils."

    The mayors talked about a more consistent approach, including about enforcement and signage, more infrastructure in some areas and a review of the Freedom Camping Act, Mr Davis said.

    He hoped there would be solutions in place before next summer.

    The National Party were quick to decry the setting up of a working group, with tourism spokeswoman Jacqui Dean saying "actual decisions" were required.

    National released a new private members' bill from East Coast MP Anne Tolley on Thursday which will put into law the freedom camping policy announced by the party at the last election.

    "It will prohibit freedom camping more than 200 metres from public toilet facilities, provide more organisations with the right to restrict freedom camping, and provide for instant fines that have been issued to be collected by rental car companies," Ms Tolley said.

    "Passing this bill through parliament would have an immediate positive impact on the behaviour of freedom campers. It will also give local authorities, NZ Transport Agency and Land Information NZ an easier way to collect instant fines."


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