Big con­cerns over camp­ing ban


A new Taupo Dis­trict Coun­cil by­law could ban camp­ing on the shores of Lake Taupo.

The coun­cil has de­layed its de­ci­sion on the Free­dom Camp­ing By­law af­ter threats of le­gal action.

James Im­lach, na­tional pol­icy man­ager for the New Zealand Mo­tor­car­a­van As­so­ci­a­tion, said the re­vised pro­posal in­fringes on the rights of Ki­wis.

‘‘The 100m buf­fer zone has taken ev­ery­body by sur­prise,’’ he said.

‘‘It vir­tu­ally de­nies any Kiwi the chance to camp by the lake.’’

Fol­low­ing pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the orig­i­nal free­dom camp­ing by­law in May, coun­cil staff pre­sented a re­vised by­law at the coun­cil’s June 22 meet­ing.

The re­vised by­law would ban all camper­vans from stay­ing within 100 me­tres from the shores of Lake Taupo, in­clud­ing at the Ferry Rd carpark.

Coun­cil­lors de­cided to de­fer a de­ci­sion on the re­vised by­law for three weeks.

Mayor David Tre­wavas said the coun­cil was not go­ing to back­track.

‘‘We just want to fine-tune it a lit­tle bit,’’ he said.

Im­lach said he found the re­vised pro­posal bizarre, and an over­re­ac­tion.

‘‘It runs counter to the rea­son peo­ple come to Taupo – to en­joy the lake.

‘‘When did the com­mu­nity ever say they wanted a 100-me­tre buf­fer zone, in con­sul­ta­tions?’’

TDC chief ex­ec­u­tive Gareth Green said the by­law needed to sat­isfy the re­quire­ments of the gov­ern­ment’s Free­dom Camp­ing Act (2011), or it could be vul­ner­a­ble to le­gal action.

Coun­cil­lor John Wil­liamson, in dis­cus­sions at coun­cil’s Au­gust 1 meet­ing, said hol­i­day house own­ers at Three Mile Bay who park camper­vans out­side their own prop­er­ties for fam­ily mem­bers to stay in, could po­ten­tially breach the by­law.

‘‘They are not ac­tu­ally af­fect­ing [pub­lic] ac­cess, or the en­vi­ron­ment or health and safety.’’

He said sup­ported the coun­cil of­fi­cers in do­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion

‘‘I think we need to do a lit­tle more con­sid­er­a­tion in re­gards to where we go with this by­law, other­wise we’re go­ing to see lit­i­ga­tion any­way.’’

Im­lach said the NZMCA may, as pre­vi­ously dis­cussed, chal­lenge the by­law with a ju­di­cial re­view.

‘‘We’ll wait and see what the staff come back with in three weeks time.’’


The re­vised by­law will ban camp­ing within 100 me­tres of the lake. In­set: James Im­lach.

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