Buller District Council

Media Release- New Season Compliance Officers

12th November, 2019

Freedom camping compliance officers on the beat


This summer, freedom campers in the Buller District have a high chance of getting a very friendly welcome and some helpful advice from the new freedom camping compliance officers who will be regularly patrolling the district.

Six officers have been recruited as a result of concerns raised by members of the public about the negative impact caused by the behaviour of some freedom campers says Council’s group manager regulatory services manager Sean Judd.

“The Council has fielded many calls from the public and it would be fair to say that the bulk, but certainly not all, expressed some concern. Council heard what people had to say and then conducted wider consultation by inviting participation in multiple advisory groups so we could better understand the impact and plan how best to respond. As a result, the Responsible Camping Strategy was developed. This strategy aligns with current legislation.

“Council staff have noticed that most people do the right thing and a little education about what responsible camping looks like goes a long way to reducing problems. The funding application that Council made to Central Government’s Responsible Camping fund was successful so with tourist numbers increasing in the lead up to summer it’s time to roll out the scheme.”

Mr Judd says the focus will be on giving advice, and guidance, and making sure campers are aware of what they can and can’t do.

“It’s about finding the right balance and working within the current legislative framework. We want people to visit our area, we just want them to respect the things that make this place special. The new compliance vehicles have the tiaki promise printed on the side because we want people to be aware of it and visit according to its principles. Some just need a little more encouragement than others.”

The compliance officers will be easily identifiable by their uniforms and branded vehicles. They have been issued with a range of equipment and have a warrant of authority which enables them to issue instant offence notices if necessary.

Two offices will patrol the Punakaki area, two around Westport, and two in Reefton.


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