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Campers Call For Rule Relaxation - Corona Virus

Responsible Campers Association Incorporated have hit out at Councils closing freedom camping areas and telling campers they need to book in to Holiday parks.

The Association says that in light of the requirement for social distancing packing people into Holiday parks and closing the large areas available to freedom campers to socially distance themselves, is somewhat absurd.

Department of Conservation has closed all pre-booked camping sites over the Weekend and advised they will close all the others if the level is raised to 3, while several Councils have closed freedom camping areas as well.

There are many people in RV’s etc that have no home base, this includes homeless people sleeping in their cars. We need to be making available freedom camping area’s for these people which allows for minimal contact with others.

Therefore we call on all Councils and Department of Conservation to relax rules around maximum length of stay’s and to stop closing these areas.

We realize that many private providers of “Park over Properties” are unable to extend lengths of stay due to Resource Consent restrictions, which increases the need for other freedom camping areas to remain open and available. NZMCA have advised a complete & total closure of all it own privately owned and run park over properties.

RCAi believe these sites can be safely kept open with restrictions with the main one being a requirement to have their own toilet to use so as not to use public facilities.

The current situation has also highlighted another area of concern Responsible Campers Association has held for some time, and that is the camping app’s that focus on designated freedom camping areas, against the intent of the Freedom Camping Act.

Under the Act, all of NZ is generally a designated freedom camping area, unless specifically prohibited. It has been noted that sites listed on the various app’s as being ‘camping permitted’ are often near capacity, while other areas not listed, are empty with maybe 1 or 2 camper vehicles staying overnight. Unfortunately this also creates a situation of social crowding against the advice established by Ministry of Health.

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