Campers are welcome to park motor homes in any of the designated areas for up to a week, with an exclusion period of 14 days between stays, but must display a current containment certificate.

The stay period is more than double the three nights allowed by Whakatane District Council, or the two nights in Tauranga.

Rotorua does not allow freedom camping at all.

Kawerau first adopted its freedom camping policy in 2012 and identified Prideaux Park as the primary parking area, with powered sites behind the pavilion.

Nights at Prideaux Park were limited to seven with no restrictions on other designated areas.

Before making a decision on Tuesday the council received a report from policy analyst and strategic planner Sandra van Egmond.

She said there were no major issues with the 2012 policy but it might be prudent for the council to introduce reasonable time limits.

“In the period since the policy was made, there have been three instances when [motor home occupants] had stayed at Prideaux Park for considerably longer than seven nights.”

One case involved a man who moved between the bowling club and Prideaux Park for three weeks before he was asked to leave.

He moved between the sites, which prevented him from breaching the seven-day rule.

Councillor Chris Marjoribanks said encouraging freedom camping was good for tourism and produced economic benefits for the district.

There were a number of things to see and do around Kawerau, such as the Tarawera Falls, so staying for a number of nights should be allowed, he said.

Designated freedom camping reserves:

– Prideaux Park: Kawerau District Council has declared Prideaux Park suitable for independent travellers and organised groups.

– Users must pay a $25 bond at the Kawerau Information Centre and campers can use the powered sites free for the first three nights and for $10 a night thereafter.

The maximum stay is seven nights.

– The grassed area behind the bowling club and the car park in front of the Maurie Kjar Swimming Pool Complex are available for use by campers in fully-self-contained vehicles.

-The grassed area inside the pool complex and the sports field may be used by organised groups by arrangement with the council.

– Because Prideaux Park is a geothermal area, sleeping in anything other than a contained motor vehicle or mobile structure with an above-ground floor is prohibited.

– Firmin Field: Firmin Field may be used by independent travellers and organised groups using fully-self-contained vehicles.

– Boyce, Stoneham Park and Waterhouse Street Reserve: These reserves are available for use by organised groups in fully-self-contained motor vehicles.