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Government consulting on freedom camping

A public meeting will be held in Gisborne next week about the Government’s proposed changes to freedom camping.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is consulting on proposals to make freedom camping more sustainable in New Zealand.

The aim is to protect the environment, remove the burden on locals in some destinations and lift the quality of tourism nationally.

The proposals include tighter rules for camping vehicles or camping locations and increased penalties such as $1000 fines or vehicle confiscation.

Rental companies may be required to collect fines from campers who hire vehicles.

Public consultation is sought on four proposals:

  1. Make it mandatory for freedom camping in a vehicle to be done in a certified self-contained vehicle.
  2. Make it mandatory for freedom campers to stay in a vehicle that is certified self-contained, unless they are staying at a site with toilet facilities (excluding public conservation lands and regional parks).
  3. Improve the regulatory tools for government land managers.
  4. Strengthen the requirements for self-contained vehicles.

Council’s chief of strategy and science Jo Noble says at this stage, MBIE’s proposed changes are consistent with Council’s draft freedom camping bylaw.

“Should this change, Council may need to reconsider and seek further community input in the new freedom camping bylaw.”

The public meeting in Gisborne will include a presentation about the Government’s consultation and discuss the four proposals in detail. People will also be able to ask questions.

The public meeting will be held on Monday 3 May from 11am to 1pm at the Rose Room in the Lawson Field Theatre.

There is more information on the proposals and how to make a submission through an online survey, on the webpage -

Consultation closes on Sunday 16 May 2021.