Freedom camping problem 'not a quick fix'

Drive 08/03/2018

While freedom camping is permitted in many places across the country, some local councils have been forced to clean up messes caused by such activity.

After meeting with 32 mayors on the issue, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced the establishment of a working group to develop solutions to issues brought out by freedom camping.

Mr Davis joined Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen on Drive to discuss the newly announced working group.

“[The mayors] want to look at the Freedom Camping Act itself, which they believe is probably past its use-by date.”

The National Party has criticised the move, saying the Government should take practical steps, like restricting camping to within 200m of public toilets.

The Tourism Minister told RadioLIVE that National is “just trying to fill a void” after neglecting the problem for the nine years they were in office.

“We’ve got to be sensible about this,” he said, suggesting that National’s solution would require an expensive project of building more toilets.  

He says that working with mayors, rather than finding a quick fix, is a “sensible solution”.

Listen to the full interview with Kelvin Davis above. 

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull told The AM Show that large numbers of freedom campers are affecting locals.

"What we need is a framework that allows local communities to make their own calls on how much they accommodate freedom campers and for how long they want to do that.

"What many smaller councils are saying is it's not our responsibility, and neither do we have the resources to put toilets at every beauty spot. We can't afford to.”

Because the makeup of campers in each area is different, he said how they're dealt with should be specific to each area.

Drive with Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen, 3pm - 6pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.