26 Nov 2015

Freedom campers lose their freedom

12:43 pm on 26 November 2015

A new by-law restricting where freedom campers can stay in Christchurch will come into force next week.

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Photo: 123rf.com

The Christchurch City Council voted to adopt the new by-law today.

The move was prompted by a series of conflicts between visitors and locals upset at people defecating and leaving rubbish behind on the roadside and at reserves.

The by-law restricts those with toilets on board vehicles to a maximum of two nights' stay around large parts of the city, and designates just three places where those without toilets can stay.

In those locations - at Woolston, Addington and Brooklands - campers will be allowed to stay for up to five nights.

The by-law comes into force next week in time for the summer influx of visitors, and will be reviewed in two years.

Anyone breaching it will face a $300 fine.

Speaking ahead of the vote, councillor Yani Johanson said, while the restrictions were important, it was vital freedom campers were still welcomed in the city.

"We want tourism, we want visitors to our city. And the reality is freedom camping is part of the visitor culture that exists in New Zealand."

Mr Johanson said he remained concerned the by-law would shift the problem to areas it did not capture, including parts of the seaside suburb of Sumner.

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