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.