Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw Review

No longer on display. Expired on 30 September 2021, 05:00 AM

Submissions closed 5pm, 2 August 2021.

Council is currently reviewing the Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw (2016) for the Waitaki district. Your feedback will help us make the best possible decision on how effective the current bylaw is in managing freedom camping issues.  


The Waitaki District Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2016 enables Council to effectively deal with issues caused by freedom camping through identifying district-wide standards for freedom camping, and specific locations within the Waitaki District where freedom camping is prohibited or restricted on Council managed land.


Freedom camping is defined in the Freedom Camping Act 2011 (the Act) as camping in a tent or other temporary structure, a caravan, car, campervan, house-truck, or other motor vehicle in locations other than at a camping ground within 200 metres of a motor vehicle area, formed road, Great Walk or mean low-water springs.

Currently, the Waitaki District Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2016 provides for freedom camping in all areas of the Waitaki District, except in areas designated as ‘Restricted and Prohibited in Part 2 and Schedule 1 and 2 of the bylaw (except for reserves where camping is managed and restricted under the Reserves Act 1977 through the Waitaki Reserves Management Plan). A bylaw can only regulate freedom camping in defined locations - no district-wide blanket ban is allowed under the Act. A bylaw cannot regulate freedom camping on non-Council land e.g., Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand, New Zealand Transport Agency e.g., Katiki Strait.

In reviewing the need for a bylaw, Council must be satisfied that a bylaw is necessary for one or more of the following reasons (under the Act) at specified locations in the district:

  1. To protect the area; and/or
  2. To protect the health and safety of people who may visit the area; and/or
  3. To protect access to the area.

Other non-regulatory management options that Council have undertaken to complement the freedom camping bylaw include education, signage, provision of additional facilities, liaison with other agencies and territorial authorities, sharing of services with other agencies, and on-going monitoring of the issue.

Since the implementation of the 2016 Bylaw, the number of community generated complaints have declined from 32 in 2017 to 10 in 2020. From 2016 to 2018, officers issued 513 infringements, with only 2 infringements being issued from 2019 to 2021.

Monitoring of freedom camping sites has shown high levels of compliance and a good knowledge and understanding of the Waitaki district's Responsible Freedom Camping 2016 Bylaw. The Freedom Camping Ambassador initiative has allowed Council to identify areas of high usage and to target education to those areas. For these reasons Council officers believe the Bylaw is working as designed and that no changes are proposed. However, we welcome the community’s input if they feel some areas of the bylaw are not working.

Draft Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2016 Review Statement of Proposal

In the Draft Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2016 Review Statement of Proposal you will see some information on the reasons for the current district wide standards and general conditions, and site-specific restrictions and prohibitions, a copy of the current bylaw. A copy of the submission form can be found within the Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2016 Review Consultation Document.

Make a submission

Submissions have now closed. If you've made a submission and indicated that you'd like to speak to it at the Council hearing on 16 August, we will contact you to arrange a time.

Key Dates

Consultation opens
Friday 2 July 2021
Consultation closes
Monday  2 August  2021 (by 5pm)
Hearing Monday 16 August 2021
Council decision – Bylaw is amended or continues without amendment
Wednesday 8 September 2021
Letters sent to submitters
By mid-October 2021
Implementation of reviewed bylaw and confirmation of non-regulatory approaches
By 21 October



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