Auckland Council proposes new freedom tenting bylaws for area

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The Auckland Council is seeking public feedback on a new statute that specifies where people can and cannot camp freely in their vehicles across the region.

It would designate 45 areas where freedom camping would be banned and 22 areas where it would be restricted.

There are two main differences between the new proposal and the previous constitutional proposal for Freedom Camping, which was opened for public consultation in 2018.

Reserve land has been exempted from the Freedom Camping Ordinance, which means that camping on the Auckland Reserves will continue to be managed under the Reserves Act 1977 – which prohibits all reservation camping unless specifically authorized.

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General rules would also apply to all other Council-controlled countries, including roadsides that are not yet designated as Prohibited or Restricted Areas.

Councilor Linda Cooper, Chair of the Freedom Camping Bylaw Panel, said while most people seek responsible behavior, freedom camping has implications that are causing “community concern”.

“In Auckland, that impact is compounded by the region’s growth and intensification, which puts additional pressure on shared spaces such as parks, beaches and community facilities,” said Cooper.

The Auckland Council wants to ensure that freedom campers “camp responsibly and have a great experience” by staying in appropriate locations, protecting themselves and others, caring for the environment and respecting their host communities and other campers, she said.

The Auckland Council wants to ensure that freedom campers

Christel Yardley / stuff

The Auckland Council wants to ensure that freedom campers “camp responsibly”. (File photo)

The council would deliberate on four general rules to prevent and manage the regional effects of freedom camping outside these areas.

The proposed general rules would require all Freedom campers staying in Auckland to use a certified self-contained vehicle, to stay in the same on-street / off-road parking lot for a maximum of two nights, to vacate their parking lot by 9 a.m. on the day of departure and not within stay in the same parking lot for two weeks.

The proposed statute would not prevent people from legally parking vehicles during the day, staying in campsites or sleeping on the side of the road to avoid driver fatigue.

All freedom campers staying in Auckland must be a certified self-contained vehicle.

Chris Marshall / stuff

All freedom campers staying in Auckland must be a certified self-contained vehicle.

The council did not intend to use the freedom camping scheme to address homelessness issues and would take a “compassionate approach to enforcement” to protect vulnerable Aucklanders, the council said.

The statutes are enacted under the Freedom Camping Act 2011, a law of parliament that already allows freedom camping on all public land unless otherwise prohibited or there are “good reasons to prohibit or restrict” by the statutes of freedom camping.

If passed, the new statutes would come into force from September next year.

Under the new plans, prohibited areas would include:

  • Heron Park – 1625-1627 Great North Rd, Waterview
  • Becroft Park Reserve – 8a Becroft Dr, Forest Hill
  • Orere Point Library and Grounds – Orere Point and Howard Rd
  • Medlands Parking Lot Sandhills Rd – Great Barrier Island
  • McLeod Park 200 McLeod Rd – Te Atatu South
  • Pakuranga Community Hall – 346 Pakuranga Road, Howick
  • Gloucester Park North – 62 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga
  • Helensville Civic Center Grounds – 49 Commercial Road, Helensville
  • Kennedy Point Wharf Parking Lot – Donald Bruce Rd, Surfdale, Waiheke Island
  • Entrance to the Goldie Bush Walkway – Horseman Rd, Waitakere
  • Myers Park – 72 Grays Avenue, Auckland Central
  • Wynyard (Tank Farm) – Brigham St and Hamer St
  • Pt Erin Park – 94 Shelly Beach Road, Ponsonby

Restricted areas include:

  • Waiuku Service Center – 12 King Street, Waiuku
  • Trusts Arena – Central Park Dr, Henderson
  • Gulf Harbor Marina Hammerhead Reserve – 40 Gulf Harbor Dr, Gulf Harbor
  • Taumanu Reserve (Onehunga Foreland) – Orpheus Dr, Onehunga
  • Roadside parking next to the Hungarian Reserve – Near Hingaia Rd 380, Hingaia
  • Port Albert Wharf Reserve Car Park – Adjacent to Wharf Rd, Port Albert
  • Cox’s Bay Esplanade – West End Road, Herne Bay
  • Wingate Reserve – 43 Wingate St, Avondale

A full list of Prohibited and Restricted Areas can be found here.

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