The announcement today of a central and local government working group on freedom camping by Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis comes ahead of a LGNZ run symposium to be held in Nelson on Thursday.
LGNZ’s representatives on the working group are Mayor of Queenstown Lakes Jim Boult, Mayor of Central Otago Tim Cadogan, Mayor of Rotorua Lakes Steve Chadwick and Deputy Mayor of Christchurch Andrew Turner.
They will work alongside central government and the tourism industry to consider local solutions and provide recommendations to the Government on policy to improve freedom camping.
LGNZ President Dave Cull is pleased to see the Government working collaboratively with local government to address issues in the face of increasing pressure from freedom camping.
Last week the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a report showing the number of international visitors that did some freedom camping in New Zealand has almost doubled in two years, from 60,000 in the year ended 2015 to around 110,000 in the year ended 2017.
“The figures released last week confirm what our councils already know – freedom camping has grown tremendously, while at the same time there hasn’t been the planning or investment into balancing New Zealand’s desire to be an attractive destination with a need for infrastructure to protect our environment and support our communities,” Mr Cull says.
“The figures also show that freedom campers visit almost twice as many regions as regular visitors, which can be beneficial for less populated regions, but we need to get the policy and infrastructure right ahead of next summer to deal with the issues - human waste, littering, overcrowding and access.”
LGNZ’s freedom camping symposium will be attended by more than 50 delegates including mayors, elected members, central and local government officials and tourism organisations, who will discuss freedom camping good practice and strategy to underpin freedom camping bylaws, the role of technology in freedom camping and creative ways to provide infrastructure.
“LGNZ see the formation of this working group and the upcoming symposium as being crucial to ensuring we’re making the most of the opportunities that freedom camping brings, as well as being able to deal with the issues that arise,” Mr Cull says.
For more information contact LGNZ’s Deputy Chief Executive Advocacy, Helen Mexted on 029 924 1221 or firstname.lastname@example.org