Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019
Information about the Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019, where camping for free can and cannot happen and the rules and guidelines that apply.
Council encourages travellers and campers to use local accommodation as much as possible.
What's in the bylaw?
Under the Responsible Freedom Camping bylaw 2019, all council owned or managed land in the district is either; a prohibited area, a permitted area (with restrictions) or a designated responsible camping site.
Camping in tents is not permitted. In all vehicles used for camping the toilet must be easily usable at all times, including when the bed is made up. All vehicles must display a current self-containment warrant issued under New Zealand Standard Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans, NZS 5465:2001. The associated certificate must be made available on request.
The bylaw does not cover private land, DOC land, KiwiRail or NZTA land.
Areas where no camping of any kind is allowed on Council owned or managed land. This includes;
- the urban area including Point Kean, the Esplanade; opposite the Fire Station, South Bay and the marina area
- the Kiwa road area at Mangāmāunu
- the coastal strip south of town (from south bay parade to the Kowhai river)
Permitted Areas (with restrictions)
Camping for free on Council owned or managed land is allowed in a certified self-contained vehicle for a maximum of 3 nights in any four week period in any one area, or within 500m of that area. In all vehicles used for camping the toilet must be easily usable at all times, including when the bed is made up.
Designated Responsible Camping sites
Camping for free in a certified self-contained vehicle is allowed for a maximum of 1 night in any four week period. In all vehicles used for camping the toilet must be easily usable at all times, including when the bed is made up. Vehicles must park within defined spaces. One vehicle per space. All personal effects must be kept within the vehicle. On-board storage tanks must be emptied on a regular basis at a Council approved dump point.
The designated sites are;
- marked spaces within the West End car park; maximum 10 vehicles. Normal parking rules still apply 8.30am – 5.30pm;
- marked spaces at Jimmy Armers Beach; maximum of 6 vehicles, maximum vehicle length of 7.5 metres;
- fenced site at Scarborough Street; maximum of 20 vehicles;
- marked spaces at South End Railway Station Carpark; maximum of 6 vehicles; maximum vehicle length 5 metres;
- Pohowera (South Bay); maximum of 15 vehicles (closed between 15 August and the last day in February the following year to protect the banded dotterel/Pohowera threatened species which nest there.)
In all vehicles used for camping the toilet must be easily usable at all times, including when the bed is made up. All vehicles used for camping must display a current self-containment warrant issued under New Zealand Standard Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans, NZS 5465:2001. The associated certificate must be made available on request.
Under the bylaw fines can be issued for each of the following:
- camping in ways that don’t meet the specific rules for that area
- interfering with or damaging flora or fauna or any structure (fences, signs etc)
- not disposing of effluent or solid waste properly
- using public facilities to wash clothes, dishes other items or bathe (other than facilities intended for that purpose)
- not parking correctly
- camping in an area that has been temporarily closed
- not leaving the area when required to do so
- not allowing an enforcement officer's inspection.
- All camping for free is at your own risk.
- When camping for free, follow the law, respect each other and the environment.
- If a designated responsible camping site is full, visitors should find other local accommodation.
- When arriving in a designated responsible camping site, check all signs carefully for applicable rules.
- On-board storage tanks must be emptied on a regular basis at a Council approved dump point. (See map).
- Take all rubbish and recycling to Innovative Waste Kaikoura on Scarborough Street (see map) or take it with you.
- Follow safe fire practices - check for fire rules and restrictions by visiting www.checkitsalright.nz
- Please stay on tracks, keep dogs on leads and don’t annoy birds, seals, penguins or other creatures.
How enforcement will work
A small team of responsible camping ambassadors will be working seven days a week in teams of two to monitor key areas, enforce the rules and educate our visitors. The ambassadors are locals with a passion for our community and environment and include some of the Kaikōura Maori Wardens. Ambassadors will be employed for the summer.
All complaints and issues are dealt with as soon as possible. They are referred to our Freedom Camping Ambassadors and the team working on Responsible Camping.
Section 9 of the bylaw allows people to apply in writing to the Council CEO for permission to camp in areas or ways that are prohibited under the bylaw. Council has 20 working days after receiving the written application to make a decision. Council must notify Te Runanga O Kaikōura and Nga Uri O Mangāmāunu of applications received. If Council identifies any parties that will be affected by the application, the person applying must obtain written approval from those parties.
A graduated enforcement approach.
Council will investigate reports of someone camping in a way that they are not supposed to. In the first instance the council will educate and provide a warning to the camper. If the warning is ignored, we will consider whether escalated enforcement action is needed. We will use the best enforcement tool to help prevent non‐compliance in the future. This can include issuing a formal warning, issuing a $200 infringement fine, seizing any equipment used in the offence, seeking a court order or prosecuting the offender. The proposed approach allows an enforcement response based on the individual circumstances of the case including the seriousness of the harm and attitude to compliance.
Responsible camping research
Council has commissioned research to understand the value that visitors who camp for free bring to the District and how Responsible Camping could be developed in a sustainable manner as an element of the broader tourism industry. The research involves online visitor, community and business surveys, and aligns to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (national level) summer research on Responsible Camping. The research is being conducted by the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute based at the Auckland University of Technology (NZTRI). The results are expected in April 2020.
The visitor survey is underway between now and February 2020. It will provide a clearer picture of the economic impact, behaviours, and motivations of those who camp for free during a visit to Kaikōura. Data collection has begun and will run from December 2019 through to the end of February 2020.
The business survey will be carried out in February 2020. It will focus on capacity issues, economic linkages, challenges and opportunities, as well as general perceptions and attitudes towards further development of Responsible Camping in Kaikōura.
The community survey will also be carried out in February. It will provide insights into residents attitudes towards those who camp for free and perceptions of the benefits and costs they bring to their area.