Eco-conscious NZMCA welcomes Freedom Camping Bills drive against irresponsible campers

June 27, 2011
Eco-conscious NZMCA welcomes Freedom Camping Bills drive against irresponsible campers

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association Inc, which has over 43,000 members, has issued a statement welcoming the introduction of the Freedom Camping Bill.

The Bill aims to prevent and punish reckless campers who deface New Zealands clean, green countryside by irresponsible disposal of human waste and litter. The Bill also protects access to an area and allows local authorities and the Department of Conservation (DOC) to designate areas where you can and cant freedom camp.

NZMCA President Bruce Stanger said - We agree that something needs to be done where freedom campers are recklessly disposing of waste or camping in prohibited areas and this legislation does try to address these problems.

However, he did not believe that responsible campers with self-contained motorhomes or caravans and who camp in designated areas should be punished.

The legislation does not recognise the high standard that the NZMCA sets for its 43,000 individual members, and 22,500 family groups. These are kiwis that enjoy the lifestyle of camping and our beautiful land with responsibility and care, Bruce Stanger said.

The NZMCA is the largest authority in the country that can issue certification against the New Zealand Standard: Self-Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans (NZS 5465:2001). All caravans awarded this

Standard meet the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants of the motorhomes and caravans for a minimum of three days without requiring any external services or discharging waste.
NZMCA has 43,000 members
NZMCA has 43,000 members

The NZMCA will be making a submission on the Bill to the Select Committee that supports the intention of the Bill but believes that the Bill needs to recognise certification against the Self-Containment Standard.

The NZMCA has engaged top public law firm, Chen Palmer, to ensure their submission is legally sound and emphasises the importance of the Self- Containment Standard.

We want the legislation to allow for responsible freedom campers using a certified self contained vehicle to be able to freedom camp in appropriate areas without over regulation by local authority or DOC officers, Bruce Stanger said.

The NZMCA considers the issues raised in the Bill to be important and is asking the Select Committee to give it adequate time to consider and hear submissions from interested people and groups.

We appreciate that there is urgency to get this legislation passed before we host freedom campers from overseas to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup 2011. But, once the rugby fans have packed away their tents there will still be thousands of kiwis wanting to freedom camp.

We want to make sure their voices are heard during the Select Committee process because the laws made under this Bill will continue to be in operation after the Rugby World Cup, Bruce Stanger said.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said in a statement made in Kaiterteri that 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.

<!--mo1####mo2-->Dr Nick Smith Environment Minister<!--mo3-->
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 campervan 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 Freedom Camping Bill passed into law in mid August. It gives councils and the Department of Conservation (DOC) powers to decide where camping is allowed and sets up an infringement regime with offenders facing instant fines of $200 - or up to $10,000 for serious offences such as emptying a campervan sewage tank in a rest area.
The definition of freedom camping was tightened to within 200m - originally 1km -
of a road, road end or the low-water line of the sea or harbour.
Many of the submissions on the bill expressed concern that fatigued drivers
sleeping in their cars could be caught in areas where freedom camping is banned, so the committee has specifically exempted temporary and short-term parking, day-trip excursions, and resting or sleeping in a car.
The bill passed 67-53 with National, ACT, the Maori Party and United Future in
favour.

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) is a membership organisation that represents the interests of private motor caravan owners in New Zealand. Members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on services like ferry crossings, fuel, parts and services, rentals, DOC passes as well as providing the most comprehensive Travel Directory of Park Over Properties, camping grounds and free parking sites.

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.

<!--mo1####mo2-->Four mountains in view NZMCA picture Taranaki<!--mo3-->
Four mountains in view NZMCA picture Taranaki

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.

<!--mo1####mo2-->Castlepoint Sunset. NZMCA picture.<!--mo3-->
Castlepoint Sunset. NZMCA picture.

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. 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.

<!--mo1####mo2-->Time to  camp as a storm blows in. NZMCA picture.<!--mo3-->
Time to camp as a storm blows in. NZMCA picture.

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. 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.

The NZMCA is a major sponsor of www.GoSeeNewZealand.co.nz

<!--mo1####mo2-->The Hamilton expo rallies motorhome club members<!--mo3-->
The Hamilton expo rallies motorhome club members
<!--mo1####mo2-->Slipping Around carries a get-about scooter<!--mo3-->
Slipping Around carries a get-about scooter
<!--mo1####mo2-->A now for breakfast. GoSeeNZ pic<!--mo3-->
A now for breakfast. GoSeeNZ pic