New Zealand is considering a plan to ban the rental of campets in its densely populated suburbs, after a survey found that up to 70% of those renting camper trailers lived in areas with very high housing costs.
In a new report by the Auckland City Council, the report found that over the past 12 months there were 4,400 camper rentals in the city, including 3,300 in the CBD, where the majority of households lived.
Auckland Council chief executive, Helen Kettler, said the council was also considering ways to reduce the number of trailers in the community, which has seen a dramatic rise in demand since the collapse of the old-style commercial caravan industry in the late 1980s.
“We are proposing a range of measures to try and minimise the impacts of campering on the surrounding environment,” Kettl said.
She said the City Council was also proposing to work with housing associations and other interested parties to ensure there was a “truly sustainable” approach to reducing the number and density of camparks.
“It’s a very complex problem, but if we are successful we can get camper units out of the city,” she said.
“Camper units, which are typically used by families, are used for short-term rentals, so there’s no need for them to be built.”
The council said it wanted to make sure that those who rent camper to families, not just people who rent out a trailer, could still find their own camper.
But the report also found that of the 4,100 camper rental units in the Auckland CBD, only about 1,200 had been built, with the rest being demolished.
Kettler said it was the first time she had seen the extent of the problem, with only about 30% of the camper buildings in the City of Auckland actually being demolished to make way for housing.
She added that the council wanted to encourage people to consider the possibility of converting their camper into a house, which would mean reducing the density of the area.
“People are going to have to make a decision as to whether they want to live in a small space, where they can get a bit of sun and a bit more space, or move to a larger space,” she told Al Jazeera.
“In terms of how many camper spaces there are, we need to look at what the density is.”
New Zealand has had a long history of homelessness, with more than 50,000 people living in tent camps and other improvised living conditions in its suburbs since the 1980s, when the industry collapsed.
A new generation of backpackers, many of whom were brought into New Zealand from South America, has also been driving the growth of the industry.
The New Zealand government recently announced plans to allow people to rent campermans in their local areas, and Kettling said the country needed to “come together” to find ways to keep the industry viable.
“There’s so many things that can be done to help support the campering industry, and I think we are on the right track,” she added.
“I think we have an opportunity to create an environment where camper and home owners can continue to make money, and have their campeds maintained.”