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Draft Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw

Council is making a new bylaw under the Freedom Camping Act 2011. The new bylaw will be called the Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2023. It carries over many of the provisions from the previous Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2016.

Freedom camping has become a popular option for visitors throughout New Zealand and offers an affordable holiday for domestic and international visitors. The Mackenzie District is a popular destination for all types of visitors, which is why Council is proposing to have a mechanism to manage Freedom Campers.

The Council adopted a draft Responsible Freedom Camping bylaw for consultation following initial feedback from the community and external stakeholders.

The draft bylaw includes:

  • Moving freedom camping away from all three main townships in the Mackenzie District.
  • Restricted camping will be provided at Lake Opuha (Bennetts Road, Hayes Road, and Opuha George Road areas), and Edwards Stream (NZTA).
  • Prohibiting tents, temporary structures, and non-self-contained vehicles throughout the Mackenzie District.
  • Prohibiting the use of all open fires and firepits while freedom camping in the Mackenzie District.
  • Explanatory notes to assist in better understanding of the Bylaw, including an explanatory note to let people know that Reserves in the Mackenzie District will be regulated under the Reserves Act 1977 rather than the Freedom Camping Act 2011, and that there will be provisions for restricted camping at the Lake Ruataniwha (West End) and Lake Wardell reserves.

Council has considered the proposed Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw included with the Statement of Proposal and has determined that:

  • A bylaw is the most appropriate way of limiting misuse and neglect to local authority areas designated for freedom camping within the district.
  • The proposed bylaw is the most appropriate form of bylaw for the purposes of consultation, and
  • It is acknowledged that the proposed bylaw may have implications under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, however Council has determined that any potential infringement of these rights is justified in managing the safety and wellbeing of those within the district.

The formal consultation process which provides for formal submissions ensures your views are considered by those making the decisions.

Please tell us if you would like a hearing to speak to the Council in support of your submission and include a telephone number and email address to ensure we can contact you to arrange a time for that to occur.

It is important, as a member of the community, to take the opportunity to have your say.

Submissions for the Draft Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw are currently open at letstalk.mackenzie.govt.nz > Draft Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2023