Green Party says the days of vehicle camping anywhere are over

Eugenie Sage kayaking on Akaroa Harbour. Photo: Supplied via NZH
Eugenie Sage kayaking on Akaroa Harbour. Photo: Supplied via NZH
Freedom camping is in the firing line under the Green Party's tourism policy.

Spokeswoman Eugenie Sage has highlighted the policy while kayaking on Akaroa Harbour.

It's a running theme - with party co-leader James Shaw scuba diving before announcing the party's marine policies.

Sage says they'll invest in councils creating designated spots for vehicle camping - so local communities don't get so overwhelmed.

"We have seen a surge in people buying caravans and motorhomes. We want to make sure that they don't overwhelm local communities because that undermines the spirit of hospitality.

"The days of freedom camping, big motorhomes pulling up and parking anywhere, are gone."

She said it's about ensuring they encourage motor homes to use local holiday parks and that are designated areas for them to park.

It comes after the National Party announced it is proposing a national framework for freedom camping as part of its tourism policy.

The freedom camping measures would include barring campers without their own toilets from parking further than 200m from public bathrooms.

The party also signaled it would modernise the Conservation Act and National Parks Act, and enhance collection of tourism data.

Meanwhile, Stuff reported freedom camping is getting another $8 million boost this summer to prevent bad behaviour in camping hot spots.

Government grants to 45 councils will cover the cost of providing toilet and rubbish facilities, ambassadors to educate campers, and enforcement of rules around use of self-contained vehicles.

Freedom camping is when you camp on public land that isn't a recognised camping ground or holiday park.

You can freedom camp on Department of Conservation and local council land. Each council has different bylaws - your vehicle may need to be self-contained.

Also discussed in Akaroa was a push from the party for kiwis to continue to continue to explore their own backyard after international borders open.

Sage said local tourism reduces the climate impact of international air travel - and supports locals.

She said protecting the tourism sector and encouraging its resilience is about investing in domestic tourism.

The party also wants to invest more money in regional rail and safe cycling.

Sage also said she was glad the Medical Association's changed its tune on cannabis.

The NZMA had vocally opposed legalisation but backtracked over the weekend after criticism from members. It's now taking a neutral position.

"I think it was really controversial that they were opposing the referendum without having consulted its members so it's really good it's changed its stance."








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