What determines whether a freedom camping violation is a $200 fine or an $800 fine?

Steve Marshall made this Official Information request to Whangarei District Council

The request was partially successful.

From: Steve Marshall

Dear Whangarei District Council,

\\ Failing to comply with the rules can result in a $200 fine under the Freedom Camping Act or an $800 fine under the Reserves Act. //

I'd like to know what factors determine whether an infringement notice will be issued under the Freedom Camping Act or the Reserves Act? I'd prefer an answer based on the Acts themselves—their scope and meaning, perhaps—but that's open to you.

My concern is that the determining factor may be discriminatory. For example, tourists get $200 fines—and everyone else, including the homeless, get $800 fines. I want to be transparent because I find that usually gets me the best answer. So that's where I'm coming from.

ka kite
Steve Marshall

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From: Mail Room
Whangarei District Council

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From: Call Centre Public Folder
Whangarei District Council

Good Afternoon Steve,

Thank you for contacting the Whangarei District Council.

Your request has been logged by us as a request under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

We will respond to your request as soon as possible and in any case no later than within 20 working days.  

Please quote CRM no. COP003367 if you require any further information.

Contact Centre Rep | Customer Services
Whangarei District Council | Forum North | Private Bag 9023, Whangarei 0148 | www.wdc.govt.nz
P 09 430 4200 | E [email address]
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From: Rebecca Rowsell
Whangarei District Council

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Tena koe Mr Marshall


I refer to your request dated 3 July 2021 regarding the imposition of
infringement notices issued under the Freedom Camping Act 2011 and the
Reserves Act 1977 respectively.  Your request was referred to council’s
Health and Bylaws and Parks and Recreation departments who advise that
wherever possible council seeks to approach the issue of freedom camping
in a sympathetic and pragmatic fashion taking an educative approach in the
first instance.  Wherever possible our staff try to work with different
groups, whether they be tourists, permanent vehicle dwellers or homeless
people, to ensure compliance with relevant bylaws and other legislation
rather than simply issuing infringement notices.  Where relevant this also
includes working with individuals to connect them to relevant social
service providers that may assist them in accessing temporary
accommodation and other basic services. 


In those instances where compliance is unable to be resolved without
recourse to formal enforcement action, the legislation under which an
infringement notice is issued will very much depend on the specific facts
of a case.  In particular infringements issued under the Reserves Act 1977
are only applicable where the land in question is reserve land held by
council as an administering body under the Reserves Act 1977. 


I hope this information is of some assistance in responding to your
request. If you believe we have not responded appropriately to your
request, you have the right by way of complaint, under section 27(3) of
the Act, to apply to the Ombudsman to seek an investigation and review of
the decision.



Ngâ mihi

Rebecca Rowsell

Legal Counsel

Whangarei District Council | Forum North | Private Bag 9023, Whangarei
0148 | [1]www.wdc.govt.nz

P 09 430 4200 | DDI 09 470 3182 | M 021 528 682 | E
[email address]

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