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Freedom camping bylaw feedback

November 3, 2023 November 2023 No Comments

A new bylaw to place some control on where freedom camping can occur is out for community input/consultation.

At times the bane of the tourism sector, freedom camping has become increasingly controlled after enraaged locals in many parts of New Zealand have spoken out at the mess, filth and despoilation so-called freedom campers have bequeathed to many high-interest tourism areas.

Only a small contingent has visited South Wairarapa recently, in part controlled by Covid-19 lockdown requirements. But the space is now again wide open for an influx.

New Zealand’s freedom camping laws allow camping on all council land unless it is prohibited through other methods – like a bylaw. 

The council said it proposes to pass a new bylaw that strikes a balance between attracting and supporting tourism in its area and protecting special places in the district. 

The proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw updates the approach to freedom camping taken in the Coastal Camping Bylaw and gives council a tool to respond to issues related to freedom camping.

“The proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw identifies those areas where freedom camping is appropriate and those areas which may need protection for reasons including environmental and cultural significance, risks to health and safety and other practical considerations,” it said in a statement. 

“We want to ensure we meet the needs of our communities, our visitors, and all those who choose to freedom camp,” it added.

The Freedom Camping Bylaw plans to:

– identify areas where people cannot freedom camp (prohibited areas);

– identify areas where people may freedom camp (restricted areas);

– restrict freedom camping to people in self-contained motor vehicles in and around townships;

– make an amendment to the Clifford Square Reserve Management Plan, to formalise the existing freedom camping area behind the Fell Museum in Featherston.

“We need your feedback to ensure the bylaw reflects the views of the community,” the council said. 

Find out more, along with how to provide feedback, on the SWDC website: 


Submissions close 13 November 2023

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