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Freedom Camping Bylaw

This consultation is now closed. You can find the updated Freedom Camping Bylaw here.

Council is reviewing its Freedom Camping Bylaw 2014. This bylaw has been made in accordance with the Freedom Camping Act 2011 and defines local authority areas where freedom camping is prohibited or restricted and the restrictions that apply in those areas to ensure the areas remain safe, attractive and accessible for locals and tourists to visit. The bylaw also defines Council-owned places where people can camp overnight in a tent or other temporary structure, a caravan, car, campervan, house truck or other motor vehicle (other than in a paid camping ground).

Council has prepared a Significance Assessment that is a supporting document for this Bylaw Review. Each Local Authority Area that is considered in this bylaw has been evaluated and assigned scores for area significance (its value from a cultural, historical and environmental perspective), health and safety and access. These scores have been used as the basis for any prohibition or restrictions placed on freedom camping at that local authority area.

Key documents

Draft Freedom Camping Bylaw 2020 (9MB pdf)

Statement of Proposal (3MB pdf)

Full Table of Changes Freedom Camping Bylaw (802KB pdf)

Significance Assessment (21MB pdf)

Results of Pre-consultation (769KB pdf)

Freedom Camping interactive map

Key changes proposed to the bylaw through this review include:

  1. Amendments to the definition of “Self-Contained Vehicle” to include both vehicles that comply with the New Zealand Standard 5465:2001 and those that do not, providing the vehicle is capable of meeting the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants for a minimum of three days.
  2. A new power for Council to grant an exemption that enables people to Freedom Camp within a prohibited area in association with an event.
  3. A new general restriction that applies to Self-Contained Vehicles that requires them to park within defined car parking areas or designated Freedom Camping parking spaces, where they exist.
  4. A change to the general restriction around the maximum length of stay for Self-Contained Vehicles from three consecutive nights in any calendar month to five nights in any 30 day period. The maximum period can be extended further with the written approval of an Enforcement Officer.
  5. Replacement of all references to “areas,” “the area” or “site” in the bylaw with “Local Authority Area” as this is the defined term in the Freedom Camping Act 2011. Local Authority Area means land in the District that is controlled or managed by Council.
  6. Insertion of a new Schedule 3 which describes Local Authority Areas where people may Freedom Camp in self-contained vehicles and in non-self-contained caravan, tent or other temporary structure.
  7. A new section that allows freedom campers to bring pets to a local authority area, providing they are not specifically prohibited by other bylaws, including the Dog Control Bylaw 2019 and the Animal Control Bylaw 2019.
  8. A new section that gives Council the ability to impose a temporary closure or restriction on Freedom Camping in a Local Authority Area in special circumstances, including (but not limited to): allowing for maintenance of facilities; to allow exclusive use for any person, activity or event; health and safety issues or emergency situations.
  9. New Freedom Camping Prohibited Areas, as follows:
    • All Cemeteries
    • Awahuri Forest - Kitchener Park
    • Cheltenham Triangle/ Cheltenham Memorial Reserve
    • Douglas Square, Rongotea
    • Ellison Reserve, Tangimoana Beach
    • Feilding Central Business Shopping Area
    • Fraser Drive Park
    • Herlihy Reserve
    • Himatangi Beach
    • James Palmer Park
    • Mt Lees Reserve
    • Old School Site, Finnis Road, Pohangina
    • Road Reserves adjacent to sites zoned “Residential” or “Village” in the Manawatū District Plan including ‘paper roads’ within these zoned areas
    • Vista Reserve
  10. Identification of a potential Freedom Camping Restricted Area within the carpark towards the north-eastern corner of Kowhai Park.
  11. Changes to the list of Restricted Freedom Camping Areas for self-contained vehicles only, as follows:
    • Herlihy Reserve and the Old School Site, Finnis Road are proposed to be Freedom Camping Prohibited Areas
    • Almadale Reserve, Rangiwahia Reserve, Apiti Reserve and London’s Ford are proposed to be Freedom Camping Restricted Areas that also provide for some non-self-contained freedom camping (in Schedule 3)
    • Amendments to the restrictions that apply at Bartletts Ford to also allow for non-self-contained freedom camping during the period from Labour Weekend until Easter.
    • Reduction in the area available for freedom camping in a self-contained vehicle at Menzies Ford and at Timona Park to limit this to specified hardstand areas.
    • Changes to the restrictions that apply at Vinegar Hill, including a prohibition on freedom camping from the southern half of the reserve all year round, provision for self-contained freedom camping at the northern end from the end of February until 1 November, and provision for non-self-contained freedom camping in the northern area of the park within a 75m radius of the public toilets during the period from the end of February until 1 November.
    • Addition of new Restricted Sites as follows:
      • Halcombe Domain
      • Pohangina Domain
      • Pohangina Valley Lookout
      • Sanson Domain
      • Wear Street Carpark by the Recycling Centre at the Te Kawau Memorial Recreation Centre
  12. Insertion of the following local authority areas as Schedule 3 Freedom Camping Restricted Areas where some provision is made for non-self-contained camping (refer to specific restrictions in the Schedule of the draft bylaw):
    • Almadale Reserve
    • Apiti Reserve
    • Bartletts Ford
    • Londons Ford
    • Putai Ngahere Reserve (Vinegar Hill)
    • Rangiwahia Domain
    • Raumai Reserve
    • Victoria Park

Make a Submission on the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2020

Submissions were due to close at 5pm on Thursday 9th April 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, Council has extended the consultation period to now close at 5pm on Thursday 23 April 2020.
Hearings, deliberations and potentially the adoption date will also have to be rescheduled. This information will be made available as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Submissions have now closed.