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Auckland tackles freedom camper tensions

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017

A two-month pilot programme in Auckland aims to ease increasing tensions between freedom campers and locals.

Auckland Council wants to encourage visitors to spread out over 29 approved locations across the region, rather than crowd into a few well-known hotspots.

Seven of 21 local boards are participating in the "dispersal programme" starting this week, from Rodney in the north to Franklin in the south.

An estimated 320 freedom camping vehicles a day either travel on Auckland's roads or are parked in public places over summer.

Council regulatory committee chair Linda Cooper said a key aim of the pilot is to reduce the impact on local access to parks, beaches and amenities.

"We want to be welcoming hosts to our visitors - campers bring an estimated $1.2 million a month into our economy over summer," she said.

"However the influx of freedom campers into hotspot areas, particularly in north-eastern coastal and inner city locations, is creating problems."

The issues included overcrowding, parking and access difficulties, and increasing rubbish at popular destinations.

Ms Cooper said council officers would be ensuring the sites were kept maintained and tidy during the pilot, with clear access ways for the public.

The council proposed using a range of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to try to move campers around Auckland.

These included making information about alternative paid and free sites readily available.

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