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NZMCA responsible camping dovetails with Govt Bill to guard Kiwi clean, green tourism brand

June 22, 2011
NZMCA responsible camping dovetails with Govt Bill to guard Kiwi clean, green tourism brand

More than 43,000 members reflect the success of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) as a powerful reponsible value add to motor home, caravan, fifth wheeler or slide on camper ownership.

The NZMCA and its 'Movanners' follow travel freedom. After more than half a century membership benefits include a network of Park Over Properties (POP's) and NZCMA parks, peace of mind which includes 24 hour crash scene national assistance, discounts on products and services and the pleasure of being part of rallies and events which introduce people who enjoy sharing the experience.

The national rally attracts about 1000 motor caravans. That is backed up by travel directory information which has maps and GPS coordinates for NZMCA Parks, camp grounds, free and low cost overnight parking sites and Park Over Properties.

Each month the NZMCA magazine brings articles on the Movanner lifestyle. The members handbook is a key to how the association works and the NZMCA website includes more than 2000 parking sites, association information and member only promotions.

NZMCA freedom means members explore New Zealand at leisure, visits to friends and family, the ability to include pets on holiday and accommodation wherever members choose to stop.

The NZMCA membership card opens the door to discounts on many of the products and services needed on the road.

The membership card number and Mac Code accesses the members only section of the NZMCA website and information which includes the GPS numbers for Holiday Parks, Park Over Properties, dump stations and other related touring ammenities.

The NZMCA Certified Self Containment scheme builds the responsible campers policy of the association.

A self-contained motor caravan is designed to completely meet the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants for a minimum of three days, the NZCMA says.

Fresh water for drinking and cooking is stored in tanks.

Waste water is collected in waste water tanks and disposed of via a dump station.

Self-contained vehicles protect the environment from indiscriminate dumping of waste, and give members more freedom when travelling, a NZMCA spokesperson said.

New membership of the NZCMA requires self-containment of member vehicles within three months.

To assist with self-containment, NZMCA membership provides access to the largest network of testing officers in New Zealand.

Members get substantial discounts on inter-island Cook Strait ferry crossings, fuel, tyres and Warranty of Fitness (WOF) and Certificate of Fitness (COF) inspections.

This is supported by technical advisors who offer free advice on everything from seatbelt requirements to vehicle modifications.

Belonging to the NZCMA brings an insurance plan specifically designed for members at competitive prices.

Covi Insurance provides specialist and comprehensive cover, not available in standard policies and covers motor homes, caravans, the 5th Wheeler market and slide on campers.

This NZMCA partnership with Covi brings in significant income for the association, which is used to help fund more NZMCA parks and further enhance benefits for members.

There are about 240 rallies organized across New Zealand each year. Rallies are all about having some fun and helping the local community. They often coincide with local activities, including fund raising and environmental events in a variety of locations.

Clean, green tourism with self-contained vehicles
Clean, green tourism with self-contained vehicles

Members have exclusive access to a wide variety of parking sites nationwide, along with the locations of important amenities, which are listed in the NZMCA members only Travel Directory. Members also receive one free hard copy of the Travel Directory publication.

The NZMCA operates a network of parks across New Zealand with access exclusive to members travelling in Certified Self-Contained motor caravans.

All parks are free to stay in (although a small donation to help cover maintenance costs is appreciated). Some parks provide basic amenities e.g. a dump station, fresh water, rubbish and recycling bins, while others simply provide a safe place to park overnight.

Department of Conservation (DOC) and Auckland Regional Park (ARC) passes allow members benefits. The Department of Conservation has more than 200 vehicle accessible camping grounds in NZ.

The Auckland Regional Certified Self-Containment pass at $61 per annum is a potential benefit for members who plan to do a lot of camping in ARC parks.

The NZMCA has built a unique network of overnight parking locations on private land throughout New Zealand since 1991 that welcomes members, and provides a safe place for them to park overnight.

This scheme is unique to the NZMCA and allows members to sample a wide variety of New Zealand experiences at little or no cost. NZCMA has more than 300 unique parking sites across New Zealand. The NZMCA also has a range of property types from residential sites to business premises which offer a place to park overnight.

Ardleigh Golf Club site, Otago
Ardleigh Golf Club site, Otago

NZMCA says in order to maintain the privileges of freedom camping, and ensure the protection of the environment, it is important everyone camps responsibly and observes any local freedom camping-related rules.

Many councils now designate areas suitable for freedom camping which can be found in the NZMCA Travel Directory.

Responsible freedom camping can be achieved in a Certified Self-Contained vehicle as these vehicles have the necessary facilities onboard to contain all the occupants waste for a minimum of three days, the NZMCA says.

Many councils are now acknowledging Certified Self-Containment (CSC) within their freedom camping rules by limiting freedom camping to designated areas for Certified Self-Contained vehicles only.

A Certified Self-Contained vehicle should display a green Responsible Camper sticker on the rear window or bumper to verify its status under the NZ Standard for Self-Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans, NZS 5465:2001.

From the Motor Caravanner - NZMCA President Bruce Stangergives guarded support to the proposed Freedom Camping Bill, but he has concerns about the power the Bill gives councils.

We absolutely understand the need to sort out the situation with the cheapie whizzbang campers. They dont have water and waste facilities and we agree they should be confined to camping grounds and other designated areas, he said..

But in doing that, we need to be careful that the legislation doesnt impact on the rights of responsible motorhomers, in CSC vehicles, to enjoy our country, Bruce Stanger said.

He is particularly concerned about the power the proposed legislation gives councils to determine where camping is allowed.

The NZMCAs Resource Management Coordinator James Imlach, who represents the organisation on the Freedom Camping Forum, shares Bruces cautious support for the new legislation but he also has some concerns around specific aspects of it.

Were supportive of an instant fine regime as local government needs stronger enforcement tools to help address irresponsible freedom campers, says James.

Our only reservation would be around how this will be enforced - we would expect officers to apply common sense and opt for education before issuing fines. Editors Note: Extract from Motor Caravanner Updates as of 26 May 2011.

Slipping Around carries a get-about scooter
Slipping Around carries a get-about scooter

May 15, 2011 - Kaiterteri, Nelson. Environment Minister and Acting Conservation Minister Nick Smith said :

Freedom Camping is an important part of our tourism industry and great Kiwi lifestyle but we cannot tolerate irresponsible campers spoiling our most iconic areas with human waste and litter, Dr Smith said.

The number of freedom campers has doubled over the past decade to 110,000 international visitors and more than 40,000 New Zealanders. The existing system where each of our 67 districts has their own bylaws is not working for the responsible freedom camper wanting to do the right thing or for councils wanting to protect the local environment.

A new Freedom Camping Bill will be introduced to Parliament this month that will enable councils to determine where camping is allowed, where it is restricted to campervans with self -containment, and where it is prohibited.

The Department of Conservation will be able to make similar rules on the reserves it manages. There will be nationally consistent signage and practical enforcement provisions. A website will be provided outlining where people can and cannot camp nationally.

We need some national consistency because freedom campers are unaware of what district they are in one day to the next, but we also want to protect the rights of the local communities to decide where freedom camping is allowed. We also want to encourage self-contained campervans by having restricted areas that don't have toilets, as the most serious problems arise from freedom camping without sanitary facilities, Dr Smith said.

Dr Nick Smith Environment Minister
Dr Nick Smith Environment Minister

The new law will provide for a $200 instant fine for illegal camping that may be imposed on the camper or the vehicle. New regulations will require campervan hire companies to record and disclose details so fines can be enforced.

Fines up to $10,000 may be imposed by courts on a successful prosecution for illegally discharging a campervan's sewerage.

We will be working hard with councils to ensure these new freedom camping measures are in place for the 85,000 visitors expected for the Rugby World Cup 2011, so as to protect the environment and our clean, green tourism brand, Dr Smith said.

Editors note: The Bill passed its First Reading in NZ Parliament on June 9 with only the Green Party and former Conservation Minister Chris Carter opposing it.

The Hamilton expo rallies motorhome club members
The Hamilton expo rallies motorhome club members
GoSee Having fun Queenstown to TeAnau, NZ South Is
GoSee Having fun Queenstown to TeAnau, NZ South Is
Cab-over comfort in our  NZ motorhome. GoSeeNZ pic
Cab-over comfort in our NZ motorhome. GoSeeNZ pic