Thursday, June 13, 2024

Freedom camping Bill finds a home

The Self-Contained Motor Vehicle Legislation Bill has passed its third reading in Parliament, reaching a critical milestone in the Government’s work to better manage the impacts of freedom camping on communities and the environment.

Tourism Minister Peeni Henare said the new Bill will give people confidence in the freedom camping rules.

“We have heard the calls from councils and communities across the motu to make these changes and the Government has responded,” said Mr Henare.

“This is a significant step for us as kaitiaki of the environment.

“Freedom camping is popular for both our domestic and international visitors. This Bill addresses environmental pressures and ensures that we protect our whenua.”

There are changes around the certification of self-contained vehicles, including the requirement to have a fixed toilet. The Bill also enables councils to decide how freedom camping is managed in their region.

There will be a transition period of two years, to give people enough time to comply with the new vehicle rules, the Minister said.

There is also a protection to ensure people experiencing homelessness aren’t unfairly penalised. Freedom Camping is a voluntary activity, while being homeless is not and the Bill reflects that, he said.

“I appreciate the time that people, organisations, and local communities have given, supporting the development of this Bill. This extensive engagement has provided us with better options and ultimately, better legislation.”

“Now is the time to make these changes as we welcome manuhiri back to our shores. It is another step towards shifting Aotearoa New Zealand to a more sustainable future, one that gives back more to people and places than it takes,” Mr Henare said.

More information about the new requirements can be found here: www.mbie.govt.nz/freedomcamping.

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