Freedom Camping
Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 2:38PM
Bill Barclay

I copped some flak privately over the content of my recent letter to the HH about the inaccurate story it published the previous week about some German "Freedom Campers" whose van clearly did not qualify for that designation.

It seems that some members of the MCA (Motor Caravan Association) are under a misapprehension as to what qualifies as a registered and certified camper that meets the requirements of the relevant Act. Also, they appeared in the course of 'correcting' me to believe that the MCA establishes the rules, and is responsible for 'certification.'

This is incorrect of course, and the mere fact that one of the critics of my letter maintained the his camper was certified even though it failed in every respect to meet the legislated certification requirements - it has a simple 'can' in lieu of a fixed accessible toilet with capacity for three days use, and for 12 litres of water per occupant aboard as required under the Act.

There are in fact many independent 'certifiers,' and it is noticeable that many more van hirers are building their newer units with the necessary facilities, and presumably charging accordingly; but there remain thousands of uncertified, and uncertifiable vans on our roads.

Here is an article from today's NZH that puts the whole issue into perspective from the point of view of a enforcement contractor employed by the Queenstown Lakes Council - a Council that basically copied our by-law  word for word when its success was proven here.  We have much to be grateful for to the staff who at the time drafted this by-law, and them made sure that it was fairly implemented. It is pathetic that so many other councils (i.e. Whanganui) choose to market themselves as 'open for Freedom Campers' and thus impose intolerable conditions on their rate-payers for some ideological rationale. 

Long live freedom camping in designated areas for properly certified camper vans - a great deal of gratitude is also due to our current Council employees and contractors who have to carry out the unpleasant enforcement task at all hours. There remain plenty of camping grounds for un-certified campers with all the facilities they require. They should use them.




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