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Government's $8m pilot programme for responsible camping

The government has invested in a technology pilot aimed to help campers find the right place to stay to encourage responsible camping.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced close to $8 million earmarked to support responsible camping this summer.

It is part of a partnership with 38 councils that will provide funding for projects including education, enforcement, temporary camping facilities and technology pilots.

Last year, more than 20,000 people used a government-supported Campermate pilot that showed the live availability of different sites.

The data and technology pilot will receive funding to expand this summer.

Kelvin Davis Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

A visual zoning pilot in the Kaikōura District has received support. It is being developed to help show where camping is and is not allowed.

Kelvin Davis said supporting sustainable tourism meant providing funding to improve the freedom camping experience for everyone.

"This summer we will again provide important facilities for visitors, but we've also come up with innovative solutions that make great use of technology to better share information, help people camp responsibly, and encourage campers to act as guardians of New Zealand."

Tourism New Zealand also received funding to continue its education campaign to encourage people to plan their journey, use facilities on offer and to leave no trace.

The funding will go towards a digital toolkit to help regions create their own campaign, targeting messages towards international visitors online and expanding the free wi-fi network that requires users to watch an educational video before accessing the internet.

Kelvin Davis thanked the councils involved and the Responsible Camping Working Group which provided guidance on improving the camping system.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment tourism general manager Iain Cossar said ensuring visitors had a positive camping experience was one of two priorities.

"We want to make camping a positive experience for communities who are hosting those campers so our investments are guided towards ensuring communities are happy with camping in their area where they want it."