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Memo

24 November 2016

To:

Local board members

cc:

Kataraina Maki, General Manager Community and Social Policy; Grant Barnes, General
Manager, Licensing and Compliance Services; Rod Sheridan, General Manager Community
Facilities; Mace Ward, General Manager Parks, Sports & Recreation; Karen ThompsonSmith, Destination Development Manager, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic
Development; John Strawbridge, Parking Services Manager.

From:

Daniel Pouwels, Policy Analyst, Community and Social Policy

Subject:

Auckland Council Freedom Camping Summer Pilot

The purpose of this memo is to inform local boards about a pilot project being investigated this summer.
Sites have been identified across 16 local boards for inclusion in the pilot. Staff are requesting workshop
time with those boards to obtain their views and expectations from the pilot.
Background
The council inherited seven sets of rules from the legacy councils which affect freedom camping. In 2015,
the council confirmed retention of these bylaw clauses to allow staff sufficient time to undertake further
research on the issues and opportunities associated with freedom camping.
Under these legacy bylaws, freedom camping is prohibited unless otherwise approved by the council. The
council has designated 12 sites for freedom camping, providing capacity for an estimated 130 freedom
campers. All of the designated areas in Auckland are in the former Franklin and Rodney District Council
areas. About seven of these sites are available to non-self-contained campers in the Rodney and Hibiscus
and Bays Local Board areas. Details about the bylaw clauses are listed in Table 1 of the attachment.
The current bylaws have been used by enforcement officers to respond to complaints but this
responsive approach has done little to prevent future incidents. The story is similar for other councils
across New Zealand. Central government is working with local government to improve the way freedom
camping is managed across New Zealand. It is hoped that there will be improved consistency in the way
freedom camping is managed and that the effectiveness of regulation is improved.
Overview of pilot
Staff have developed a pilot project (information attached) for implementation this summer that will test
the councils ability to influence where campers stay and to reduce over-crowding at popular sites and
non-compliance in urban areas.
The pilot will be run across a broad range of locations over summer to:

actively manage supply by doubling the capacity for freedom campers to sleep in designated areas
actively manage demand, by preventing over-crowding using a destination marketing campaign
establish a quick-response team to respond to harm.

The pilot is a collaboration across a range of council departments and Council Controlled Organisations,
including Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and Auckland Transport. The private
sector have also been involved in the pilots design and will play a key role in the monitoring and social
media marketing campaign. We will also be engaging with Mana Whenua and Matwaka organisations to
discuss any issues and opportunities that may arise. Further detail about the pilot is provided in the
Attachment.

Local board engagement


Local boards as community infrastructure providers and land-owners have an important role to play in
improving outcomes for local residents and supporting sustainable tourism opportunities in their local
board areas.
Staff will outline how the pilot will work in each local board area in workshops to be held before
Christmas. This will allow staff to prepare the sites over the summer recess.
The pilot proposes to create or modify existing freedom camping sites in 16 local board areas. Staff have
identified these sites as a suitable sample to support future decisions affecting all local boards, once the
pilot is completed.
Further details about the pilot are included in the attachment to this memo. Local-board specific
information can be found in the tables at the end of the attachment, including:

relevant current state information about the operative bylaws


An assessment of 65 sites in 16 local board areas with recommendations about suitability for
inclusion in the pilot
destinations proposed to be included in marketing to support the social media dispersal campaign

Budget

The pilot will be funded from existing budgets and will not have any impact on local development
initiatives.
Next steps
Once the final list of sites to be included in the pilot has been confirmed, then staff will:

undertake a detailed site-specific infrastructure assessment


develop promotional material
install new signage and car park markings.

Additional infrastructure may be provided on a site-by-site basis (e.g. portaloos). It is expected that sites
will be actively promoted to campers from January 2017.
Staff will also engage with strategic brokers to identify suitable community contacts to support the
monitoring programme and the destination marketing campaign.
Findings from the research will be presented back to participating local boards after the pilot is
completed. A report with recommendations for future policy options will then be prepared for all local
boards in May 2017. Details of engagement with local boards will be developed in consultation with the
Local Board Services policy team.