I have been doing some research.
The basics is that Freedom Camping is a Right in NZ. You have the right to camp anywhere unless it is banned.
The details are:-
Councils can only ban it as a last resort. They must prove that freedom camping does one or more of the following three things:-
Damages the environment.
Is a health and safety issue.
Affects public access.
They cannot use any other excuse such as, it is unsightly or it is difficult to manage or effect of commercial parks etc. Only those three things.
So they have to prove it is campers that are problem eg spreading toilet paper or litter around etc.
Councils cannot make a blanket ban either. Areas must be ruled out, not ruled in. So it must be "you can camp anywhere except..." rather than "you can't camp anywhere except..."
They must do an individual and detailed plan for each and every site. The council must identify each site and have a detailed map of each one.
NZ is a signatory to the Human Rights Declaration so moving you on may impinge on your right to freedom of movement. They would have to have a very good reason to move you on especially if you can prove that you are not breaking any of the three above rules.
So in essence, if you hire a campervan/motorhome that is self contained ie has a toilet, rubbish bin/bag and stores grey water you can camp pretty much anywhere and the onus will be on them to prove you are doing one of the three things listed above. Be polite but stand your ground.
If you don't have a toilet or grey water storage then it will be easy for them.
I am an avid Freedom Camper. We have our own self contained campervan and it is registered with the Campervan and Motorhome Club Australia (CMCA) as a Leave No Trace Vehicle. Ours is a standard length HiAce about as small a van as you can get.
We never stay in commercial parks.
I have no issue with freedom campers who do the wrong things being heavily fined.
I would suggest that NZ and Australia gradually introduce that no company can hire out vans without grey water storage and a toilet, so that as companies turnover their vehicles they can comply.
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I have been doing some research.