TCDC revokes freedom camping bylaws

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 11:32 15/04/2014

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Two clauses in bylaws impacting freedom camping on the Coromandel Peninsula were revoked at the 11th hour, ahead of a High Court hearing in Hamilton this morning.

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association is challenging the Thames-Coromandel District Council's stance on freedom camping at the High Court today.

NZMCA chief executive Bruce Lochore told the Waikato Times last week that the association considered the TCDC freedom camping bylaw illegal.

TCDC's current bylaw allows freedom camping in a self-contained vehicle on any council-controlled public land - except in areas where the council specifically prohibitsfreedom camping.

Freedom campers cannot stay longer than one night and non-self-contained freedom campers are advised to stay in commercial campgrounds, holiday parks and Department of Conservation campgrounds

Mai Chen, counsel for the association, told Justice Mark Cooper she heard from the council's lawyer at 4.59pm yesterday that the council's Public Places Bylaw and Parking Control Bylaw had been been revoked.

This morning Chen asked Justice Cooper to make an order to ensure they remained revoked.

The Freedom Camping Bylaw, which says where freedom campers can and can't camp, remains.

Chen described the council's stance "as a breach of the right of freedom of movement under the New Zealand Bill of Rights".

Justice Cooper said: "I can quash a bylaw" but has made no order as yet.

The council's counsel, Padraig McNamara, is yet to address the court.

The hearing, attended by scores of association members, continues today.

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- Waikato

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