In recent years the increasing number of freedom campers has raised concern from some communities around freedom campers’ cumulative impact on the environment, and the cost to host them. In particular, this concern has focused on the subset of freedom campers who stay in cars, or vans with sleeping platforms, that are not self-contained. This is impacting communities’ attitudes towards visitors and their willingness to host them – and impacting on the social licence for tourism.
Environmental concerns and low community support for this form of freedom camping puts at risk New Zealand’s reputation as a destination that delivers a sustainable, high quality visitor experience. Meanwhile, there are ongoing costs for communities and taxpayers to manage the immediate impacts of the inappropriate behaviour by some freedom campers, which include dealing with waste and litter, providing education and undertaking enforcement activities.
This document presents four proposals for consideration:
- Make it mandatory for freedom camping in a vehicle to be done in a certified self-contained vehicle.
- 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).
- Improve the regulatory tools for government land managers.
- Strengthen the requirements for self-contained vehicles.