16 May 2011

Councils to get new powers against freedom camping

8:15 am on 16 May 2011

The Government is to give local councils the power to issue fines against so-called freedom campers.

There has been growing opposition to campervans because of tourists fouling beachside stops and reserves in many districts.

Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced a new Freedom Camping Bill will be introduced to Parliament this month so councils can decide where camping is not allowed, and where vans must have self-contained toilets.

The councils will then be able to issue fines of up to $200 for illegal camping and prosecute campers for up to $10,000 for illegally dumping van sewage.

The same rules will apply to Department of Conservation-controlled reserves.

Dr Smith says the new rules are needed to cope with an estimated 12,000 vans expected to be hired during the Rugby World Cup.