Does Grey District Council enforce their Bylaw?
Yes. It is recommended that all visitors to our region are familiar with the provisions of our Freedom Camping Bylaw so that their stay in our District is enjoyable and infringement free.
Freedom Camping Bylaw (PDF, 3MB)
Regular patrols are undertaken in those areas commonly used by freedom campers. Any campers who do not comply with the Bylaw are likely to receive an infringement notice (instant fine) for $200.
Is my vehicle self-contained?
In accordance with Council's Bylaw and NZS 5465, the following evidence of self-containment is required:
- A detailed "self containment certificate" be issued to the owner of a compliant vehicle, which must be kept in the vehicle;
- A "self containment warrant" sticker to be placed on the inside left front window; and
- A "self containment sticker" to be placed on the back of the vehicle on the bottom right-hand corner of the rear window or the right-hand side of rear bumper.
If you do not have the above documentation current and valid at the time you camp, your vehicle is not considered self-contained.
Please see the Ministry for the Environment's website for further information regarding self-containment.
Where can I camp in the Grey District?
If you are self-contained you can camp on Council controlled property anywhere within Grey District except Jacks Road. However you are encouraged to use the designated campsites at Cobden Bridge, Jellyman Park (Cobden beach) or Iveagh Bay. There are maps at the back of the Bylaw showing the location of these areas.
If you are not self-contained you must be 200 metres or more from a formed legal road (see the next question below for an explanation of what comprises legal formed road). This requirement ensures that those who are not certified self-contained do not camp where there are no adequate facilities and trampers and hunters can carry out their activities without undue inconvenience.
Non self-contained vehicles are encouraged to stay at a registered camping ground when camping in the Grey District.
What is a formed legal road?
The definition of formation from the local Government Act 1974: "Formation, in relation to any road, has the same meaning as the construction of the road, and includes gravelling, metalling, sealing, or permanently surfacing the road; and form has a corresponding meaning:"
Legal road is any piece of land legally set aside or nominated for the purpose of a road. The simplest way of applying this is: If it has been modified so you can drive on it, treat as formed legal road.
If I am self-contained, can I be required to move on?
Yes. An authorised Council Officer can ask you to move for any other legitimate purpose, including if you contravene any of the following:
- A current Self-containment Warrant for that vehicle in accordance with NZS 5465:2001 must be displayed in the left front windscreen of the vehicle.
- The number of persons associated with the vehicle must not exceed that specified in the Self-containment Warrant.
- No person may freedom camp for longer than three consecutive nights in any single location.
- No person may freedom camp for more than 10 nights in any calendar month within Restricted Areas in the District.
- Body waste and household rubbish must be disposed of in a Council approved disposal facility.
- On-board storage tanks must be emptied on a regular basis and in the prescribed, hygienic fashion at a Council approved dump point.
- All camping sites must be left in a clean and tidy condition.
- Camping must not block or hinder any public or private access.
- A person shall not, in any public place, light any fire except at fireplaces specially provided, or in an appliance designed for outdoor cooking; subject to any restriction imposed by Council on the lighting of fires.
If I am travelling from A to B and get tired, can I pull over to sleep/rest?
Yes. "Resting or sleeping at the roadside in a caravan or motor vehicle to avoid driver fatigue" is permitted under the Freedom Camping Act.
However you should remain on the direct route between your departure and destination points (i.e. the applicable state highway). Leaving the direct route (including entering side roads / streets or designated camp sites such as Iveagh Bay, Jellyman Park at Cobden beach or the Cobden Bridge area) in order to find a place to camp or stay means you no longer fit this exemption and may be penalised for illegal freedom camping.
Why didn't the Officer knock on my window/door and talk to me?
As one of the measures in place to ensure our Officer's safety, it is our policy that we do not disturb people who are in contravention of the rules in order to question their motives for doing so.
Our Officer is employed to issue infringement notices to those who do not display the correct documentation. Any explanations or reasons that campers have for their actions may be raised in the Statement of Explanation.
Are the rules the same all over New Zealand?
No. Campers should check the local Council's website prior to camping. The rules can be different in each District or city.
Can I get my infringement notice withdrawn or cancelled?
Council will only withdraw or cancel infringements in exception circumstances, or if it has been issued in error. Each case will be judged on its merits.
Can I get the amount of my infringement notice fee reduced?
No. The amount is set by Government regulation and Council's do not have the ability to reduce it.
How do I appeal an infringement notice?
There is a Statement of Explanation form on the Grey District Council website (click here for more information on the freedom camping appeal process). It is also available at the counter in the Council offices. Fill this in with all details relevant to your situation and reasons as to why you chose to camp at that site. If you believe that your vehicle is certified self-contained, include evidence to that effect (copy/photograph of self-containment certificate etc).
What can I do if my explanation is rejected/declined?
You may appeal to the Court. The process for doing so is outlined on the back of your Infringement Notice and Reminder Notice. Please ensure you follow this process carefully.
I did not know the rules - am I still liable for the infringement fee?
Yes. It is the camper's responsibility to be aware of the rules, regardless of if there is a no camping sign close to where you camped. It is impractical for Council to erect signs in every location people may choose to camp.
Campers should check the local Council's website prior to camping. The rules can be different in each District or city.