9 Jul 2013

Council wants to dump camping by-law

10:31 pm on 9 July 2013

The Westland District Council is set to dump its freedom camping by-laws because the legislation is proving impossible to enforce.

The council began clamping down on freedom campers when changes to the Freedom Camping Act allowed the local authority to impose fines in 2012.

But regulatory manager Richard Simpson said on Tuesday it proved impossible to determine whether people had parked up for a rest or were actually camping for the night in public areas and the by-law could not be enforced on state highways.

"We're walking away from it. It's impossible to enforce, it doesn't relate to state highways and in my view, local government has been conned. The Act does not allow us to control freedom camping on the state highway."

Meanwhile, the Queenstown Lakes District Council is making hundreds of thousands of dollars from imposing fines on freedom campers.

The Motor Caravan Association is threatening to take that council to court over the by-law, as it believes its policy is over-zealous and the area where freedom camping is banned is too wide.

The association wants the council to review its policy.