Minister Nash-er starts menacing the country’s happy campers

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Tourism Minister Stuart Nash-er will introduce new legislation next year that will restrict the places where non-self-contained vehicles can freedom camp. A new regulatory system will be introduced to certify vehicles as self-contained and fines will be increased.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa supports the proposed new measures says its CEO Chris Roberts. Roberts is a member of the Responsible Camping Working Group.

“The ‘right vehicle, right place’ approach that the Minister has adopted has the potential to correct many of the issues New Zealanders are concerned about,” he says.

However, the Responsible Campers Association inc, (RCAi) says it is disappointed to learn of Nash’s decision.

RCAi is aware that many councils and other stakeholders, do not support the Minister’s 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,” states RCAi.

“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 says it is aware of at least 25 councils who are totally opposed to the Minister’s proposals to give the voluntary NZStandard legal status.

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

Government is providing $10m to assist local councils with camping education and to prepare camping bylaws. The need for councils to pass their own bylaws is potentially problematic and could result in different approaches across the country, creating confusion for travellers.

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