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NZ Responsible Camping model on agenda for Australian RV Camping Forum 

July 24, 2012
NZ Responsible Camping model on agenda for Australian RV Camping Forum

New Zealand's Responsible Camping model is on the agenda when the Australian RV Camping Forum meets for the third time on Tuesday 14 August at the Stamford Plaza Hotel, Sydney Airport. The previous meeting was on August 9, 2011at the same venue.

Stakeholders at that meeting were - Travellers Auto Barn, SA Tourism Commission, Jucy Rentals, Apollo, Queensland Tourism Industry Council, GoSee Australia, City of Sydney, Caravan Camping Industry Association NSW, Tourism WA, Tourism Holdings Ltd, Wicked Campers, KEA Campers (Australia), Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Ltd. CMCAs General Manager, Richard Barwick facilitated the meeting. Apologies came from Backpacker Operators Association, Tourism Victoria, Around Australia Motorhomes, Youth Hostels Australia Ltd, Spaceships Australia, Tourism Tasmania, Tourism NSW.

At the August 9 meeting of the ARVCF Peter Burke of Travellers Auto Barn pin-pointed a potential threat in the New Zealand Responsible Camping direction when he asked Dan Alpe from Jucy Rentals whether there was a concern the NZ Councils would fine the operator and not the user for camping infringments.

Dan Alpe, who was updating the meeting on ARCF activities since March 2010 said NZ Councils have the authority to issue on the spot fines for unauthorised parking in a disabled parking space but he did not think they would go as far as to fine the operator.

In June 2011 The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association Inc, which has over 43,000 members issued a statement welcoming the introduction of the NZ 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.

But on October 14, 2011 Joe Dodgshun reported in the Otago Daily Times that Queenstown Lakes District Council had issued 102 infringement notices in under a month, with fines totalling $20,400.

Under the new regulations, freedom campers with tents or vehicles which are not equipped with a toilet can stay overnight only at licensed camping grounds or in designated camping areas.

Those in self-contained vehicles still have to camp in camping grounds or designated camping areas while inside new no freedom camping zones, but can camp anywhere outside the zones.

With the Rugby World Cup 2011 cited as the driver the NZ Freedom Camping Bill became law in August 2011. It provides for a $200 instant fine for illegal camping that may be imposed on the camper or the vehicle. New regulations require campervan hire companies to record and disclose details so fines can be enforced.

Jenny and Dennis run  this tidy rig
Jenny and Dennis run this tidy rig

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

On August 14 Dan Alpe of Jucy Rentals will report on further contacts with the New Zealand Responsible Camping Forum (NZRCF) which includes asking for access to printed material and its application and use by the Australian RV Camping Forum (ARVCF).

Actions on the agenda include that the participants be aware of this issue, as it effects the whole RV industry inclusive of RV hire companies as if fines are applied, these would need to be passed onto the consumer / renter, through RV hire companies.

Editors Note: Also see -

NZMCA sign of responsible campers
NZMCA sign of responsible campers