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Freedom Campers Disappointed

Responsible campers association inc, (RCAi) was today disappointed to learn that Tourism Minister Stuart Nash intends to push ahead with his ill-considered proposals to place the onus for responsible freedom camping on the mode of camping and not the people camping.

RCAi is aware that many Councils and other stakeholders, do not support the Ministers proposals to make the voluntary self containment standard legal, which appear to be targeted at high end RV users whose vehicles are able to be fitted with ‘fixed’ toilets. It gives zero consideration to the lower end market that is attractive to many freedom campers who camp in a responsible manner, i.e those in tents that are rarely the subject of complaints but are to be severely affected in the Minister proposals due to the high end market RV’s who are clearly targeted by the proposals. Those in tents are very capable of managing their own waste including sewage by use of portable toilets - a matter ignored by the Minister in restricting tents to areas with public toilets only. So much for good old family tenting holidays.

RCAi is aware of at least 25 Councils who are totally opposed to the Ministers proposals to give the voluntary NZStandard legal status- preferring to look towards placing the onus on the people concerned thru education programs and prove of knowledge, which even the Ministers consultation papers evidenced the benefits off.

We are looking to make the ability to freedom camp largely restricted to those in large non-ecofriendly, polluting RVs, rather than small eco-friendly RV’s which are more able to meet the requirements for climate change targets NZ has signed up to.

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Meantime RCAi acknowledges the figures published, that 85% of certified self contained campers are certified as a condition of club membership, not to demonstrate responsibility which is a personal matter. At what time do we acknowledge catering to a private organization, while denying everyday responsible campers their camping “rights’ to give the same organizations members more exclusive use of public land?

Recent OIA requests on MBIE, Ministry of Health, MPI and others has failed to produce any evidence of the benefits of self containment certification. RCAi suggests the Minister looks towards providing real solutions that work, while not discriminating against responsible campers based on their mode of camping

RV users are less than 20% of freedom campers defined by legislation yet remain responsible for 99.99% of complaints. Most of those complaints apparently relate to older RV users who are sold a glamorous retirement lifestyle touring NZ in big flash RVs (also known as glampers) while having no or little outdoor experience and even everyday chores like emptying their onboard (often fitted) toilet is beneath them.

RCAi can ensure the Minister that his proposals are a long way from becoming law, and we look forward to both making submissions to the select committee and appearing before same.

Meantime RCAi has laid a complaint with the Ombudsman over the failure of MBIE to release the submissions made in response to Minister Nashs proposals as legally required under Official Information Legislation..

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