Why Kevin’s quitting Tauranga

Kevin Steedman and the ticket. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

Kevin Steedman's had a gutsful – he's quitting his job, packing up his nine metre motor home and leaving town.

“I am leaving because I have to – they have made it impossible for me to stay.”

They being the Tauranga City Council and its new no-nonsense attitude to freedom campers.

And the defining moment was 12.25am last Sunday morning. That was the exact time a patrolling TCC enforcement officer slapped a $200 infringement notice on Kevin's windscreen. “It's not possible for me to live under this regime.”

Home for Kevin is a fully-spec'd, fully-certified, fully-ticketed Hino cream, green and brown motor home. And he's NZCMA warranted.

“I was in a designated camping spot at Kulim Park. You are allowed to stay two nights and this was my second night. So whoever did this was coming down hard. Not only are they ticketing us for doing things illegally, but they are ticketing us randomly.”

Then Wednesday, the council indicated Kevin's ticket may be waived. It may've been a mistake, they told him.

“Yeah, I was angry and I told them I was a truck driver and if I make a mistake, someone dies.”

The council introduced the $200 instant fines to bring freedom campers under control – to put a stop to uncertified vehicles, to stop freedom campers overstaying their welcome and to stop crowding at some locations. The council's conciliatory and educational approach hadn't worked.

“If legal motor home owners are adhering to the rules, they have nothing to worry about,” says the council's bylaws and parking man, Stuart Goodman. Kevin Steedman says he did play by the rules but he still got an infringement notice.

“I can't be moving every other day,” says Kevin. “My bus is nine metres long, there are few parks that can accommodate a vehicle of this size and so I am pretty much screwed.” He lives on his own in the bus and work is here or there for the Mount Maunganui truck driver who's confident he will find himself a job where he's made to feel welcome. So that's made the decision to leave easier.

Kevin says before the new rules, the council always told him they weren't worried about the local mobile homers. And he stayed one step ahead of the law. “I always moved on before the council said you are taking the piss, you have been here too long.” He generally bounced between the Whareora boat ramp and Sulphur Point

But a mobile homer up and quitting town won't trigger an outcry of sympathy from ratepayers. “Depends.” says Kevin. “Some people like us, some people don't mind us while others hate us. But no business would want to see money leaving town.”

Kevin also points the finger at the tourists. “If we get a ticket we pay,” says Kevin. ”But if you were leaving town or the country next week would you pay the $200? The council won't get the money from the people it's targeted at because they will just laugh it off and bugger off.”

The council says there's no evidence of this. Since the beginning of June it's issued 188 offence notices worth nearly $38,000.  

Kevin Steedman, the fully-ticketed motor homer, doesn't want something for nothing – he's willing and happy to pay his way, to be a contributor to Tauranga, his home of 10 years. “I had a job, I paid my taxes like everyone else. So I would be prepared to pay for a resident's permit to park my bus – perhaps $200 or $300. The council guy said that's a bloody good idea.”

But not Stuart Goodman, the bylaws and parking team leader. “A permit would encourage people to live in their vans and the number of complaints would increase.”

A defeated Kevin says, “The whole issue has consumed me and that's not how I like to spend my time. So my destiny is set somewhere else now.”

The nine metre Hino motor home is fueled up and pointed out of town.


How about...

Posted on 30-06-2017 21:13 | By penguin

...this? His home would be ideal for a homeless family. A magnanimous gesture on his part would be to offer it to such a family. Council could make a parking space available under the special housing scheme. Kevin could live in a tent beside the home to keep an eye on it!

Interesting posts

Posted on 26-06-2017 18:36 | By Papamoaner

I reckon it comes down to a simple analysis which is:- We can have Lassiez Faire (please excuse spelling) or we can have rules. If we choose the former, let them do their thing and don't grizzle. If we choose the latter, we must enforce the rules without fear or favour, or it will come back to bite us in the arse.Hey guys, make up your minds which it is to be. Seems to me that in this particular case the rules got breached and the authorities were bound to ticket - no fear or favour allowed!Whether the chap is a good bugger, or whether he only offended by mistake, is irrelevant in these situations. The ticketers don't have discretionary powers like a constable. Just remember, we need these rules because not all travellers or squatters are good buggers.

Start the bus...

Posted on 26-06-2017 16:15 | By mark greenwood

Seeya Kev, drive safely....


Posted on 26-06-2017 11:43 | By fletch


Not freedom camping.

Posted on 26-06-2017 09:05 | By Believe Me

When I first reas the article thought it eas a bit mean, but after reading some comments agree it is not freedom camping rather a cirizen that resides here, and enjoys all the faciltis so he should pay like the rest of us.


Posted on 26-06-2017 08:51 | By The Sage

It is my understanding that Fergusson Park was the only park providing hot water in the showers. This exacerbated the situation with back packers etc abusing them. It was freely available on Google that there were hot showers there. Throw into that the odd vagrant sleeping in the park. No hot water is a good move.

Hidden signs

Posted on 25-06-2017 23:29 | By tgaraised

I camped overnight at sulphur point and received a $200 infringement because I DID NOT park on yellow lines - crazy. The sign informing you where to park can't be seen in the dark when a vehicle is correctly parked in front of it. Also the Freedom Camping area is designated with a yellow hatching in the style and colour used for the No Parking area less than 20 metres away. What person/council paints an area that allows parking in yellow? when yellow lines and hatching designate parking is prohibited and you will receive an infringement for parking on yellow lines. Use Blue for the the same colour used on self containment sticker and certificate, Why place a sign informing of possible infringements in a position where it is easily hidden from view?

Pretty much the same...

Posted on 25-06-2017 20:05 | By morepork

... rules for boat owners who want to live on their yachts. Most marinas will not allow permanent residence on the boat, although some will turn a blind eye if you keep a "low profile" (no washing hanging on the rigging etc.) "Freedom camping" becomes "Freeloading" when you do it permanently, in a single town or city. If you want to put down roots, buy a section, get services connected and park there permanently. Pay your rates and be a good neighbour. The whole point about a mobile home is that it should be "mobile". Moving on is probably the best option, but I doubt that anywhere else will be any easier than Tauranga.


Posted on 25-06-2017 17:11 | By About that

Council . Just trying to suck some more money off the innocent. With rents going up and the un-affordability of buying your own home, some people have no choice but to stay in campers, vans etc and being ticketed for camping in a designated camping zone with in the legal time frame is just being an arse. Tauranga seems to be filling up with dimwitted people and seems the council is the ring leaders. I'll be leaving here soon too if this type of crap carries on.

What's with this attitude of entitlement?

Posted on 25-06-2017 16:26 | By Mcgck

Freedom camping is a privilege, not an entitlement. Ratepayers shouldn't have to subsidise those of us who for whatever reason live in motorhomes, buses and caravans. Its got to have conditions to be sustainable for everyone in to the future. By the way, the parks provided by NZMCA for members are a great alternative at just $3 per person per night. Councils nationwide are trying to get the balance right. In this particular instance Council has agreed they made an error. It happens, its been remedied, move on.


Posted on 25-06-2017 15:19 | By Shocking!

Congrats Council for listening to the rate payers and enforcing the rules.. yes there maybe a slip up, but easily resolved by the sound of it if you did nothing wrong. I agreed with other Rate payers who pay a fortune every year to live here.... go for it council against use and abusers.

A question

Posted on 25-06-2017 14:47 | By lpm67

I read somewhere on facebook that the ticketing contractor is paid per ticket issued, is this true?

if he was moving

Posted on 25-06-2017 14:25 | By Capt_Kaveman

around the district or further not a problem but if staying within the city i think people need to pay a basic fee to be allowed to do so but in saying that he must still move every 2 days and not use the same area within 30 days


Posted on 25-06-2017 14:23 | By freedomkiwis

It's unfortunate that the ones who should be ticketed are not being ticketed. 3 wks ago we were at Sulpher Point and we pulled in to park for our first night, obeying the signs that said we could park on the grass only to discover on returning from the hospital to our bus that the signs had been removed and now we were expected to park in 10 designated spaces for freedom campers. The problem with t hese spaces is that if every space was taken, then it becomes a safety issue as doors and windows of each other would all be less than half metre away when they should be at least 15m away. No fun in staying there, that's for sure and Tga your dump stations suck. Definitely no good for heavy vehicles. Just so you know "maildrop" we were ratepayers in Tga for many years.


Posted on 25-06-2017 14:15 | By Nz1961

Why is it a local council worker who personally dislikes overnight campers can engage members of the public to walk their dogs several times a day to take photos and send in to him . Is that why the hot water has been turned off so when I go for a swim i freeze in the shower and the far gate kept closed down at Ferguson park .Do you not want to bring visitors into Tauranga to spent money or do you want higher rates etc.To those who take the photos you are nothing but low lifes

Freeloader he is

Posted on 25-06-2017 13:35 | By The Sage

If he is living in the caravan full time and has a job he should be able to pay to stay in a camping ground and use their facilities. He gets free water, rates and rubbish collection. User pay like the rest of us. It is good to hear the Council have implemented this rule and are actually enforcing it.

cant read?

Posted on 25-06-2017 13:23 | By lpm67

Read the story again, he is fully compliant the ticket was issued wrongfully. Also he is willing to pay for a resident parking ticket. Another BIG issue is that most holiday parks wont accept house buses, house trucks, and older RV's and the costs are hideous. By the way I am a rate payer but believe the council has over stepped.


Posted on 25-06-2017 13:16 | By gingerpussy

he got a ticket for staying three nights when he was only there two nights....so what if he lives in a bus, he is all legal....you all should be moaning about the people that leave rubbish everywhere and dont give a toss....


Posted on 25-06-2017 13:02 | By rastus

It is unfortunate that there are people such as this who believe they have a right to freeload. Freedom campers I believe are tolerated, since Kiwis traveling in many overseas countries are offered similar reciprocal freedom camping privileges. This guy, is not a freedom camper, but simply an arrogant freeloader.

See ya later.............

Posted on 25-06-2017 12:17 | By Smilarkie

............ thems the rules Kevin. Rate payers pay for the city, not full time free loaders.Good on the council, the rules allow people to come and say for free, if traveling around etc.How is it that you feel you have the right to park up and live for free, while the rest of us have to pay for you?????

Move on mate

Posted on 25-06-2017 11:47 | By maildrop

It would be nice to have Council services and water and a piece of land to live on - all for free. Unfortunately the rest of us have to pay for these things. Get off my land Kevin because I pay for it's upkeep, you do not.


Posted on 25-06-2017 11:42 | By penguin

...why not stay in a camping ground and pay for the privilege if he wants to ''live'' and work in the Tauranga area? Most others do.

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