Recusal delays freedom camping bylaw judicial review

A judicial review of the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s freedom camping bylaw has been delayed after the judge recused herself from the case.

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association’s (NZMCA) legal challenge to the council’s 2021 bylaw was set to be heard over two days in the High Court at Invercargill from Tuesday.

However, Justice Lisa Preston recused herself after the association’s counsel, Phil Page, said it was "uncomfortable" about her ownership of property close to two sites in Wānaka that would be part of the hearing’s subject matter.

The association’s recusal application was opposed by the council, which argued there were no legal grounds and the association should have raised the issue before the hearing.

The NZMCA, the country’s largest freedom camping organisation, claims the council’s bylaw is overly prohibitive and illegal.

New hearing dates have yet to be scheduled.