#freedomcamping not enforced at Warrington, summer 2016/17

ODT 21.6.17 (page 12)

Reply to letter to editor (snippet):

█ For more, enter the terms *warrington* and *freedom camping* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under DCC, DCC Bylaws, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Freedom camping, Geography, Health & Safety, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty

17 responses to “#freedomcamping not enforced at Warrington, summer 2016/17

  1. Diane Yeldon

    Council agenda meeting of full Council at 1.00 pm on Tuesday 27th June 2017, Municipal Chambers

    Cr Staynes will be the Chair.

    Two Public Forum speakers on Freedom Camping

    The purpose of this report is to recommend a Special Consultative Procedure to determine the community’s views on whether Council’s current approach to the provision of freedom camping opportunities in Dunedin should remain consistent or change, given the above. (ends)
    So people will get a chance to let the DCC know their views.

    I used to think the NZ Motor Caravan Association was the enemy because I got the general idea that they were willing to take local bodies to court if suitable camping sites weren’t provided. But changed my mind after reading their website. This group represents New Zealanders who want to motor camp or live a motor camping life-style and not necessarily people making money out of it all, like the sellers of expensive mobile homes (a sort of real estate agent equivalent.) Their site has a lot about responsible and sustainable camping. Also, a scheme for ‘park over’ properties on private land.
    This group commissioned top notch public law firm of Chen and Palmer to draft a model by-law for freedom camping. It will be interesting to compare this with what DCC is proposing because I have a lot of confidence in Chen and Palmer to find a good solution.

    All the same, the boom in all kinds of tourism is a huge concern because some of the projections for tourist numbers I have read exceed the population of New Zealand. If you start to get the feeling, in the summer season at any rate, that there’s getting to be more of them than there are of us, you could be right! Of course, many people are worried about the sheer numbers of visitors killing the goose that’s laying the golden egg. Particularly through environmental damage which risks being a one-way process.

    There’s also an increasing boom in hunting and fishing tourism. Pity the visitors can’t be encouraged to bag rabbits. Which their hosts could then maybe put into a nice pie for them! No shortage of resources there.


  2. Gurglars

    One of the problems with Chen and Palmer are Chen and Palmer.

    I once interviewed Palmer on TV and I was struck by his lack of intelligence, bad teeth and the amount of coaching his young advisors had to do to keep his foot out of his mouth.

    Palmer has been bought out, but for Mai Chen, feminist, well educated woman, to continue to have his name on her shingle demonstrates either a lack of confidence, a lack of judgement or a bad deal at sale and purchase.

  3. Diane Yeldon

    No doubt correct, Gurglars. I always think in terms of Chen and ….?

  4. Diane Yeldon

    More on this in ODT today. Looks like a good move by DCC – being very responsive to community feedback presently mostly limited to those directly affected and now looking for a wider perspective. I hope they keep up the good work and do this more often. For example, with respect to social contracting and tendering which is an issue which got completely buried.

  5. Rob Hamlin

    Yes, this one went up and down the flagpole pretty quickly. One wonders why it went up in the first place given that it has nothing but downsides for the general community.

    The inhabitants of Warrington, for instance simply do not possess a public domain any longer, and certainly in my view have thus had one of their primary assets (the patrolled and accessible safe swim beach and dunes/park/playground/facilities) eliminated by lack of parking, play areas, toilets and a general infestation of tents, mobile vehicular sheds ‘personal patches’, rubbish and turds.

    In my analysis of any Council’s policy initiatives that are inexplicable in terms of public benefit (and some that purport to be of benefit also), I have now personally adopted a cynical but simple predictive rule of thumb: “How might this public policy/initiative conceivably facilitate the theft (privatisation) of community money/assets/revenue streams by individual or small groups of well connected ‘stakeholders’ within that community?”.

    In my analysis here based on said rule of thumb, I would begin with the concept of a ‘personal patch’, and the thin end of the very thick wedge that it might represent. Looking at the Warrington Domain, one sees that its pre-freedom-camping use by individuals was essentially non-exclusive and transient. You used the ground, maybe the park and the facilities, for periods ranging from moments to a couple of hours – and you did so along with other transient users.

    Freedom camping is fundamentally different from this. It is an exclusive occupation, and thus creates a basis for the following potential progression:

    1) Somebody arrives at the public domain (maybe but not necessarily from outside the community), and they establish a ‘personal patch’ that they occupy exclusively for a period ranging from overnight to months. They are currently described as a ‘freedom camper’. But their activities actually restrict the freedom of others.

    2) Other ‘freedom campers’ come and eventually the community of their exclusive ‘personal patches’ occupies the entire domain, or a critical proportion of it, from which all other previous non-exclusive users of the previously open access community facilities necessarily depart. It thus ceases to be a public domain, and becomes a de-facto private campsite – albeit a ‘freedom’ one – ‘freedom’, of course, being a matter of personal perspective.

    3) A combination of the noisome conditions and lack of facilities within this area of exclusive ‘personal patches’ creates a requirement/opportunity to re-equip the previously public domain as a private ‘freedom’ campsite. Along with the addition of some facilities, this will probably also involve the deliberate or incidental degradation of existing facilities that were previously used for non-exclusive community domain users. Therefore there is now no way back for the previous non-exclusive users.

    4) The domain/campsite is now clearly recognisable as a network of individual personal patches, and thus has no pretence of direct benefit to the local community. Warrington is a good case in point. This, along with the lack of revenue associated with this network of individual personal patches, gives the Council the cause, and the excuse, to start to charge individual users of these personal patches a formal rental, and regulate and thus regularise their pattern of exclusive occupation – thus creating an exclusive leasehold state for these previously commonly held areas, both for the individual personal patches, and inevitably collectively for the entire area.

    5) The Council then does the usual, “A role better performed by private enterprise blah, blah blah…” line, and farms the management of the campsite that used to be a public domain out to a company controlled by some well-connected ‘stakeholder’. Investment is made by this ‘stakeholder’, or by the council on the stakeholder’s behalf, that improves conditions, but that also clearly indicates their own exclusive control/occupation of this previously public domain. The freedom campers are freedom campers no longer. Prior users, of course, have no chance.

    6) After a period of time it is pretty much forgotten that this now private campsite (which now ironically may now exclude freedom campers) used to be a freely accessible public domain.

    7) At some point after this, maybe via a management contract/leasehold contract progression, the previously public domain quietly does indeed become the fully private freehold property of the stakeholder’s company – of course, at a highly advantageous price that reflects its ‘marginal profitability’ and ‘ongoing public benefit’ as a campsite.

    8) Some time later, a resource consent is then lodged, on the basis of ample prior examples, to fully or partially subdivide this private campsite (which is now apparently now ‘losing money at an unsustainable rate’). The proposed new use is for luxury seaside/riverside villas. If this has been well planned, the necessary water, sewage and roading infrastructure to fully support the proposed subdivision will have been installed earlier (at public expense) to support the ‘public’ campsite.

    9) An exclusive, gated residential subdivision now stands where there was previously a public domain. Much money has been made and another cheesy McMansion rises in Wanaka or wherever. The community now don’t have the asset, and they didn’t get paid for it either, but other public riverside/seaside domains may remain….However….

    10) ….Displaced freedom campers now arrive at the one of these other public domains, and the process starts all over again!!

    It seems to be an incredible progression of usage, but one can now see things that resemble all of these individual stages at some point around the coasts, lakes and rivers of this fair land. So, perhaps other community members and ‘stakeholders’ have seen its possibilities too?

    Maybe this explains the venom of the local community reactions.

  6. Diane Yeldon

    The idea that ‘occupation’ of public space is occurring is interesting and insightful, as is the idea that such occupation effectively ‘privatises’ public space. More of the ‘tragedy of the commons’.

    But I don’t think the DCC, or any local councils, are to blame. I think the Freedom Camping Act is unworkable and unfair. Local ratepayers shouldn’t have to pay for more than local public services. Also they have a right to retain their local public reserves for local public use.

    If central government thinks that this kind of budget tourism is good for the country’s economy, let them fund it. Bet they won’t, as it’s a bottomless pit, one which they are presently forcing unlimited responsibility for on to local bodies and their ratepayers.

    ‘The Guide [from central government on freedom camping for local authorities] identifies that the onus is on councils to educate the public and visitors about being responsible when freedom camping, and where appropriate provide facilities such as toilets, rubbish bins and waste disposal stations in areas where Freedom Camping is creating issues.’

    Also: “However, blanket bans on freedom camping were in fact explicitly prohibited by the Act. To clarify the situation, in December 2012 an update to the Guidance to Local Authorities[7] concerning the Freedom Camping Bill was issued. The Update clearly stating “freedom camping is permitted everywhere in a local authority area unless it is prohibited or restricted in accordance with a by-law”.

    {Central Government has since made funds available to local authorities for the kinds of facilities you list. -Eds}

  7. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

    Report to Tuesday’s full Council meeting:

    Agenda item:
    18. Review of the Camping Control Bylaw 2015

    Survey Results
    Warrington Map
    Draft Statement of Proposal

  8. Simon

    It looks like the ramblings of Maurice P. have been taken on board by council, but don’t expect them to admit it.

    • Elizabeth

      I doubt it. Although many of the public would have agreed with his public forum presentation.

      DCC has had complaints from all over, mostly from affected residents in the greater Dunedin area – particularly from those at the mercy of DCC’s proposal to create three new freedom camping sites.

  9. Elizabeth

    Councillors today at their meeting did not touch on the EXCESSIVE AND DISGUSTING HARM done to community-owned green reserves which absolutely precludes villagers’ use of their local “Domain”….

    Alasdair Morrison’s head should be put on a fricking plate – his presentation to the Public Forum in his role as chair of the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board had severe moments of calculated fiction. Wait for the DCC video.

    Our biggest problem remains how to sell ourselves without selling out.

    Tue, 27 Jun 2017
    ODT: Time to talk freedom camping
    OPINION What a relief. The Dunedin City Council is considering whether to seek official public feedback about freedom camping. The council has just made a U-turn on its proposal to develop three new freedom camping sites in Dunedin – Rotary Park in Highcliff, Brighton Surf Life Saving Club and at Puddle Alley near Invermay. After an outcry from affected residents, and in the face of growing unease elsewhere in Otago and nationwide about the negative impacts of freedom camping […] Residents should not feel alienated in their own backyard, but visitors should not be alienated, either. Cont/

  10. Elizabeth

    Council staff had received more than 300 complaints about freedom camping demand at Warrington Domain and Ocean View Reserve since Christmas.

    Wed, 28 Jun 2017
    ODT: DCC changes tack over freedom camping
    By Margot Taylor
    Freedom camping in Dunedin could be in for a radical change if the public agrees with Dunedin city councillors. At a council meeting yesterday, councillors voted 12-1 for freedom camping to be restricted to self-contained vehicles only within the Dunedin boundary. Cr Lee Vandervis voted against the proposal. Under the rule, all non-self-contained campers would be forced to stay in camping grounds or on non-council-owned land. […] The recommended option would be one of three to be put out for public consultation next month [submission period for camping control bylaw – July 7 to August 4]. Cont/

  11. Elizabeth

    Mr Mayor (Dunedin) did not join with Southern mayors in their June letter to Bill English PM….. [Already picking and choosing how to be seen for LGNZ ? Love the solidarity, Daaave.]


    At Facebook:

    Sat, 1 Jul 2017
    ODT: Little return from tourists
    By David Loughrey
    Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan says his region is being forced to pay for rapid tourism growth from which it sees little benefit. Mr Cadogan said his region was being swamped by  an influx of camper vans containing  tourists who provided little return, and the district’s already struggling residents had to cover the cost through their rates. He again called on the Government to introduce a levy on tourists when they enter the country to help pay for the infrastructure they required. A group of Otago and Southland mayors called for a levy last month. Cont/


    Tue, 27 Jun 2017
    ODT: Mayors want help with operational costs
    By Hamish MacLean
    When tourists come to New Zealand to take in its natural landscapes – and, inevitably, answer the call of nature – they could be causing an unfair strain on smaller districts’ facilities. Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said while he was grateful for the $223,000 the Waitaki district received for toilets and other infrastructure in the final round of the Government’s Regional and Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Fund early this month, and he welcomed the Tourism Infrastructure Fund of $102 million over four years […] Mr Kircher was one of six southern mayors – from Southland, Gore, Clutha, Central Otago, Waitaki and Mackenzie – who wrote to Prime Minister Bill English about six weeks ago urging him to consider a visitors’ levy to help districts that had large visitor numbers and low ratepayer bases. Cont/

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    “Love the solidarity, Daaave” – like when Tim Shadbolt came from Invercargill for the hospital food protest on a shitty wet day and Our Glorious Leader fought the good fight from …

    Sorry, I don’t think he was seen anywhere. But OF COURSE we were heartened by his inspiring support. Comments on the Facebook site http://www.facebook.com/stopdunedinhospitalfrombeingdowngraded clearly show the esteem he earned.

  13. Lyndon Weggery

    Last Friday when driving past the Clutha River from Kaitangata towards Balclutha, I noticed two freedom campimg vans parked by the river. Then saw one of the owners blatantly peeing in the river. Agree totally with the Clutha Mayor’s comment. These freedom campers are out of control.

  14. Pb

    Gypsies without honour. Really how needy are you if you can fill a van with diesel and take holiday. The concept of others picking up the cleaning tab for the vile wretches, is a flawed thing. Misguided benevolence. Hardly free. I’d say the rats amongst them have ruined the concept. Shut it down. Close down the open sores. If you want to camp free, go Rambo into the hills. If we must, setup the next one at green island landfill.

  15. Elizabeth

    It benefits locals and tourists alike if we keep New Zealand pristine and pleasant to visit.

    Wed, 5 Jul 2017
    ODT: Status quo certainly offers freedom, but at what cost?
    By Heather Macleod
    OPINION I love the concept of freedom camping, and the idea of being a hospitable nation. However, after many months of thought, I now believe we need to severely restrict freedom camping. Firstly, there are now just too many freedom campers, and secondly, a few spoil it for others. In the age of user pays, why should local ratepayers be responsible for building tourist facilities, and servicing them, as well as dealing with rubbish, and evening/morning congestion at reserves etc? […] Living in a tourist area, I regularly see freedom campers basically abusing our hospitality. Cont/

    ● Heather Macleod is an Albert Town resident.

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