Tourism Minister, Stuart Nash says new steps to address the environmental and social impact of freedom camping have been taken today with the introduction of the Self-contained Motor Vehicle Legislation Bill.
Minister Nash said the Bill will create a robust regulatory system that central and local government can rely on to manage freedom camping, ensuring its sustainability and respect for communities.
“Through the process of this work we’ve heard a lot of stories about how those who abuse the Freedom Camping rules place an unfair burden on small communities and damage our reputation as a high-quality visitor destination,” Mr Nash said.
“Freedom campers who follow the rules are welcome in New Zealand, with many spending money in local communities, working in seasonal jobs and volunteering. At the heart of the change in regulation is a greater respect for our environment and communities.
“The new tourism system must be regenerative, giving back more to people and places than it takes. We want visitors to New Zealand to enrich our communities and help protect our environment.”
The Bill proposes that vehicle-based freedom campers will need to be in a certified self-contained vehicle to stay overnight on land managed by local councils unless the council has designated the area as suitable for non-certified vehicles.
It also requires that self-contained vehicles have a fixed toilet and introduces a stronger infringement system.
“This is just one way we are helping to rebuild our tourism industry, including our $400 million Tourism Recovery Package to support the sector throughout the pandemic, the $200 million Tourism Communities Plan, and the $54 million Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery,” said Minister Nash.
“I also recently announced the first phase of the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan, which aims to strengthen the tourism workforce and create a thriving, regenerative tourism future for New Zealand.”
The Self-contained Motor Vehicle Legislation Bill will now go through the parliamentary process, including select committee hearings on public submissions on the proposed legislation.