National to make freedom campers park near toilets

A new smartphone app will be created to help tourists know where and where they can't stay.
A new smartphone app will be created to help tourists know where and where they can't stay. Photo credit: Getty

National wants to crack down harder on freedom campers, forcing them to park closer to toilets if they want to hang around.

If re-elected, National says it will:

  • restrict tourist vehicles that don't contain their own toilet facilities to "areas that are within easy walking distance - approximately 200 metres - of toilet facilities"
  • extend powers currently granted to local councils to ban freedom camping to LINZ and NZTA
  • allow bans as large as a whole town centre or small as a single street
  • allow local authorities to issue instant fines, which if the tourist can't pay, gets charged to the vehicle's owner - including rental car companies.

"Freedom campers stay longer and spend more on average than other visitors, but there are now a lot more people freedom camping than there used to be and a small minority don't treat our roadsides and public spaces with adequate respect," said tourism spokeswoman Paula Bennett.

"Local councils have been asking the Government to create more consistent rules and to help them penalise those who break these rules."

A new smartphone app would also be created to help tourists know where and where they can't stay.

"Our changes will not affect trampers, campers and hunters who enjoy our back country areas as they are not considered freedom campers," said local government spokeswoman Anne Tolley.

Auckland Council says it could take 18 months to develop its own bylaws against freedom camping.

Newshub.

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