Supporting sustainable freedom camping in Aotearoa New Zealand

19 April 2021

The Government is consulting on how to make freedom camping in New Zealand more sustainable.

A public meeting will be held in Hokitika on Tuesday 20 April, 10.30am – 12.30pm at the Regent Theatre, 23 Weld Street Hokitika.

About the consultation

Responsible camping has a long history in Aotearoa New Zealand. Many New Zealanders enjoy travelling around the country, staying outside established campgrounds – and some see it as an important part of their birthright as New Zealanders to camp around New Zealand at low or no cost.

However, in recent years, the increasing number of freedom campers has raised concern from some communities around freedom campers’ cumulative impact on the environment, and the cost to host them. In particular, this concern has focused on the subset of freedom campers who stay in cars, or vans with sleeping platforms, that are not self-contained. This form of freedom camping is impacting on the social licence for tourism, and putting at risk New Zealand’s reputation as a destination that delivers a sustainable, high quality visitor experience.

The Government considers that while the borders are closed to international visitors, now is the time to address some of the systemic issues facing freedom camping.

This document presents four proposals for consideration:

  1. Make it mandatory for freedom camping in a vehicle to be done in a certified self-contained vehicle.
  2. Make it mandatory for freedom campers to stay in a vehicle that is certified self-contained, unless they are staying at a site with toilet facilities (excluding public conservation lands and regional parks).
  3. Improve the regulatory tools for government land managers.
  4. Strengthen the requirements for self-contained vehicles.

Find out more and make your submission on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

Supporting sustainable freedom camping in Aotearoa New Zealand