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Camping Group Calls On Outdoor Recreation Groups

Responsible Campers Association Incorporated (RCAi)are calling on outdoor recreation groups to join together to ensure the ability to camp remains as a viable option into the future.

RCAi has this week gone public and alerted outdoor groups to a survey being promoted by Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE) to RV clubs concerning Freedom Camping.

The survey promoted as capturing statistics about freedom camper’s spending and where they stay, also capture’s other information including about self containment. The survey is unable to be completed by anyone but NZ residents.

That the survey is being promoted solely through RV clubs by MBIE, shows little understanding of the definition of “Freedom Camp” as provided in the Freedom Camping Act 2011 (FCA). The Act defines methods other than RV’s as Freedom Camping. Motorhome & Caravan owners are estimated to be less than 25% of Freedom Campers as defined.

New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) stated in its release that “We have lobbied hard for NZMCA members to be included in this survey so please take this opportunity to provide your input, as the survey’s outcome will dictate decisions and policy into the future”.

This should be of major concern to any outdoor person and groups who camp in modes unable to be ‘certified as self contained’, especially when the claimed 100.000 NZMCA members are considered and likely to answer the survey in denial of other campers.

This other group includes anyone that camps using a non vehicle based mode of camping, tents temporary structures etc, within 200 metres of a ‘motor vehicle accessible area’. That motor vehicle could be as simple as an off road type motorcycle, which can practically go anywhere!

As such groups that are affected by potential bylaws made to restrict the problematic group of Motor-homes & Caravans, can include Trampers, Mountaineers, Kayaker’s, Cyclists, Hunters and many others.

RCAi developed alongside Councils and other stakeholders, an accreditation program for Responsible Campers. This program is all inclusive and provides education as well as testing knowledge on the expectations and principles of Freedom Camping. This means this program is far superior to the currently used method of restricting Freedom camping to those in Certified Self contained Motor-homes & Caravans, such certification providing zero education. Education was the biggest need identified by RCAi in their report dated March 2018, and the amount of education now being provided has exceeded all expectations RCAi had at the time of writing.

It is expected that Councils would have a representative on any group of interested outdoor recreation created, to ensure they have ongoing input, this is likely to also include ongoing support for the Accreditation program.

Any groups interested in being involved, are asked to email RCAi @ responsiblecampersassoc@yahoo.com or through the website www.accreditedcampernz.com

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