‘Freedom campers not welcome’

 

Freedom Camping in New Zealand. Image: Plannit NZ

News broke this week that Auckland Council plans to allow freedom campers at four locations around Pakuranga.

The council has listed four sites where freedom camping may be allowed – Howick Beach, Howick Library, Moore St Car Park (opposite Dominos), and the Pakuranga United Rugby Club car park in Lloyd Elsmore.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says the local community is “strongly opposed” to this plan and he’s encouraging residents to speak up.

“Following the unpopular freedom camping trial that took place earlier this year, the council confusingly believes that it went well, and are now planning to make it official policy, with additional sites in the Pakuranga and Howick areas,” says Brown.

“This is alarming news for the community, who have clearly stated their opposition to freedom camping in our area. Freedom campers create all sorts of problems where they stay and simply don’t belong in any of the proposed areas, particularly Howick Beach.”

These sites are being debated today at the Regulatory Committee of Auckland Council.

“This is simply another example of a council that refuses to listen to the communities it is supposed to serve and is apparently incapable of using common sense,” he says.
He says freedom camping brings with it a high risk of damage to the local environment and public spaces and is an “eyesore” on our beaches and public spaces.

“I am totally opposed to this proposal and I encourage the Pakuranga community to speak up and share their views with the council, who need to be made aware of the impact this policy will have.”

Since the plans for freedom campers was announced, locals have been discussing the changes on a community social media page and weighing in on how they feel about freedom campers setting up in public places.

Among the comments were concerns about beaches and reserves being left untidy and property being damaged by unsupervised freedom campers.

Local board Chair David Collings said on a social media post that when they trialled freedom camping at Eastern Beach last year, it actually deterred unruly behaviour on the beach.

“Surprisingly what tends to happen is because there are people there staying in self contained campers, and normally of a more mature age, it meant that groups that want to congregate on the beach and have a good drink up are actually reluctant to do so,” he says.

“And if they do and cause any nuisance there are people there to put them straight rather than being deserted and no one knowing the activities are happening.”

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