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NZMCA joins government-led freedom camping working group.

27 April 2018

This invitation is a result of the NZMCA’s hard work and solution-based focus over the past decade, turning freedom camping into a sustainable opportunity that benefits responsible visitors and the communities they visit nationwide. Bruce Lochore (CEO) will be representing the NZMCA working alongside council mayors, central government officials, and key industry representatives on recommended solutions to the Ministry of Tourism with a view to improving New Zealand’s freedom camping management framework.

The working groups terms of reference can be found here - https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/freedom-camping-working-group-announced 

In addition to the working group initiative, Local Government New Zealand released its ‘Good Practice Guide For Freedom Camping’ at yesterday’s Freedom Camping Symposium in Nelson.This comprehensive guide is designed to help councils improve their processes and freedom camping management regimes.

The guide collates practical solutions that other councils have successfully relied on to help manage common trends, advice on how to navigate the key legislative instruments, improving information and communication, building effective relationships with key stakeholders, and a series of do’s and don’ts to promote better outcomes.

The NZMCA, a preferred partner of LGNZ, worked closely with their specialist consultants, Hammond Robertson Ltd, on the guide providing content, expert advice in key areas, and recommended solutions from our in-depth experience working closely with councils and the Department of Conservation nationwide.

The good practice guide follows LGNZ’s review of the model freedom camping bylaw and other practical guidance for councils on how to make good decisions under the Camping-grounds Regulations (1985). The NZMCA also worked closely with LGNZ on the development of these key documents. The model bylaw template has helped dozens of councils change their historical mind-sets towards freedom camping by showing them how to draft lawful bylaws that meet the permissive intent of the Freedom Camping Act 2011.

Guidance on the camping-ground regulations has made it easier for private land owners to lawfully operate safe, low-cost campsites for responsible travellers in self-contained vehicles, without the financial burden of installing expensive facilities that are not always required by self-sufficient travellers.  

For many years the NZMCA has promoted the development of well-established, low-cost camping areas (akin to basic DOC campsites) as another sustainable solution to addressing capacity issues by providing alternative accommodation options in high tourism areas. This approach is already working extremely well throughout NZ and has the potential to benefit many more volunteer groups and other non-profit organisations searching for ways to generate revenue in support of community fundraising initiatives.

Members can download the above documents here - http://www.lgnz.co.nz/our-work/our-policy-priorities/3-environment/freedom-camping/

The NZMCA is proud to be supporting LGNZ on these initiatives and we look forward to further contributing towards real, practical solutions that work for communities and responsible campers.

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