NZ govt to inject $8.5 million towards freedom camping fix-up

$8.5 million to be made available for immediate actions recommended by the Responsible Camping Working Group

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced on 15 August 2018 that it will be making $8.5 million available for immediate actions recommended by the Responsible Camping Working Group. 

The working group was established earlier this year in response to issues around New Zealand’s freedom camping laws and the inconsistency of bylaws around the country.

On 31 July this year, the working group reported back to the minister with an assessment of the current place of responsible camping in New Zealand and a list of recommendations aimed at better management of the system.

The report states, "The working group considers that responsible camping has a place in New Zealand’s tourism and recreation offering and that the traditional ‘Kiwi way’ of camping should be protected and retained."


Some of the key recommendations from the report include:

  • A review of the Freedom Camping Act 2011 and the compliance regime
  • A review of the Standard for Self-Containment, in particular that the standard certification should be overseen by a national body (similar to the WOF system)
  • A review of the Camping-Grounds Regulations 1985 to support a network of camping sites (commercial and non-commercial)

Creating national consistency through four camping ‘zones’. These include:

  • Camping not allowed
  • Camping allowed in self-contained vehicles
  • Any camping is allowed (requires provisions of toilets, rubbish bins nearby)
  • Remote camping is allowed provided campers have an adequate plan for managing waste

With the 2018/19 peak summer just around the corner, the working group has recommended that $8.5 million of funding be used for three immediate actions:

  • Funding to support councils with infrastructure (toilets, showers, waste facilities, landscaping, signage), education, and enforcement over the 2018/19 peak summer season
  • A data and technology pilot with Geozone
  • A marketing and education campaign to provide information to potential campers on the behaviour expectations of campers in New Zealand, with Tourism New Zealand.

To focus this funding, the working group identified some locations where the issued associated with responsible camping are considered significant enough to potentially impact on the reputation of responsible camping in New Zealand – Queenstown, Mackenzie/Central Otago, Northland, Taupo, West Coast/Buller, and Banks Peninsula/Akaroa.

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