Friday, August 19, 2011


New Zealand has just lost another basic "Right".

The Government has passed "The Freedom Camping Act"

They have removed the right that inhabitants, temporary and permanent, have enjoyed since humans came here at any time in history, "to set up camp on open space for what ever reason", whether it be to hunt, fish, explore or even just exhaustion.

In response to a serious problem of rubbish, poor human body waste disposal and other offensive behavior by the proliferation of budget campervans that barely have room to sleep in let alone anything resembling sanitation, the Government has passed legislation that bans freedom camping at the many public space areas of this beautiful country by all campers.

No longer will mum and dad be able to head off on Christmas eve to set up a camp as they have done for ever at their favourite spot. If they do they will be liable for substantial penalties.

Just pulling off the road to kip due to exhaustion could result in prosecution.

I own an 8 meter Caravan that only leaves wheel tracks.
70 liters of freshwater, 80 liters of grey water capacity, a cartridge toilet, a solar panel on the roof. and a rubbish bucket allows me to park up for up to four days and leave nothing when I depart. A motor camp that costs around $30/$40 a night offers me nothing I need.
Is this legislation being driven in part by the umbrella organisation of Motor Camp Operators.

I and many members of the NZ Motor Caravan Association (current membership around 25 000) have signed up to an initiative by our club to ensure compliance with a "self Containment" status for our van whereby inspection by trained members ensures the standard is kept to. it is now a requirement for new member applicants, and has been embraced by some of the larger hire van companies, eg Maui.
The "SC" standard is a mobile home equivalent to the drainage permit for a fixed home.
We are also proactively supporting the establishment of "dump stations" where all effluent can be safely disposed of.

I know there is a problem but this poorly thought out "solution" will do SFA to solve it.
The only people who will get caught will be the responsible with assets, and property to attach, the occupiers of the el cheapo panel vans will never be forced to comply as they are only here for a few weeks, always moving and if a problem arises they will abandon ship get on their thumb and move on out. Then how will prosecution of the hire company go in the absence of 'Intent'.
How will the authorities enforce payment from canceled Credit Cards and the perp safely lost off shore.

Talk about a sledgehammer nut cracker.

Give a legal status to the Self Containment Scheme that the NZMCA have developed and introduced.
Make a current Self Containment Certificate a necessary component of a WOF.
Then apply the draconian penalties to breaches of use of that capability
Introduce a legislative differential between 'kipping at the wheel' and sleeping in the back.
Force the myriad of el cheapo hire companies to comply or cease operation.


Chris Bird said...

So does this mean that when I go into the back country, tramping or hunting and pitch my tent somewhere, I could be fined for freedom camping?

gravedodger said...

@ chris I am not a lawyer but the definition of camping and the situations as to where it applies ie a road, a walking track, a waterway, lake or sea frontage or other place of scenic importance or something similar, and proximity to them as I read the original, simply, yes.
I think there were amendments that I havn't the time to peruse but the Bill in its form that went to select committee was very draconian and proscriptive.
Defense was severely limited as well.

gravedodger said...

@ chris of course those enforcing will be drones from the local authority with limited power so identity and constraint will be difficult, so get dropped off and walk way out, it is primarily targeting vehicles and registered owners neither of which shit in the woods.

Moist von Lipwig said...

Couldn't agree with you more on the total overkill of this "crap" legislation. So it is going to up to Councils to enforce. Does that mean an army of Poo Police will be added to the hi-viz council brigade?

"Is this legislation being driven in part by the umbrella organisation of Motor Camp Operators."

This breathtakingly arrogant quote from one Greg Hartshorne, Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park manager, may give us a clue.
"If people could not afford a self-contained vehicle or $20 a night for somewhere to stay then they should not be on holiday."

Take that! Peasants.

Anonymous said...

Key the grinning trougher has $55000000 ,his bitch and sprogs DONT CAMP

Chris Bird said...

I see that the local councils and Doc will be enforcing this stupid law. And that each organization will be able to keep the proceeds. So now we will have all sorts out there trying to make more money off us poor peasants who like to get out there and enjoy our back country.
I know what they are trying to do, as I live on Queen Charlotte Drive and very often there are the elcheapo campers parked up for the night so without onboard facilities they do their dodos on the roadside.
It should have been targeted at the cheap camper rental companies, not the genuine kiwi families with their caravan or tent.

gravedodger said...

My reading of he bill leaves me in a position of having to prove the steaming pile in the bushes behind my van is not mine, the gestapo who will try and get my money dont have to prove it is mine.
Likewise with a shopping bag of cans and KFC wrappers.

WAKE UP said...

Obviously, none of the commenters have had the experiences of the camp operator who told me of German freedom campers (in particular*) who actually COMPETE withj each other to see who can bludge their way around the country best, shitting in the woods whenever they like, but still sneaking into the camps to use the showers, internet and any other facilities they can rip off.

The legislation may be imperfect, but it's long overdue. Stop your whining.

* apparently, Germany's image of us is is as a bunch of useless wimps who are only too eager to have our country and hospitality abused.

gravedodger said...

@ Wakeup I have a close association with a couple of Camps.
There is absolutely nothing in this bill/act about addressing poor management and supervision of Motor Camps and their ablution blocks.
As a young man primitive budget travel was a challenge but shitting in the woods never played a part in that, cripes how hard is it to dig a hole.

I am not whining as I still have options as our thousands of NZMCA Members have many of us offering private property options where we can park over for a gold coin if we are displaying our Self contained status green diamond sticker and comply with pack in, pack out rules.
But thankyou for contributing.

Moist von Lipwig said...

Our Country has more than enough rules, regulations, by-laws and policies to deal with even the most competitive army of copro-competitive Germans and other random shitters.

Anonymous said...

I lived in a small scenic community. We set up a campgroundd with toilets and showers and rubbish bins. It was an honesty system with about $3 going to help defray costs. Through trials we established that at best only 60% of the traveling public was honest. What got to us were the people, domestic and foreign who deemed it their 'right' to ignore the camp, park on the beach and leave their shit behind. One campervan company had a cheap ass record and we wrote and rang them on repeatedly because it was obvious they used the freedom bit as advertising. Finally one of the community parcelled up everything from feces to bottles and kitchen garbage left behind one of their vans and posted it to the company head office. Strangely the future behaviour of their hirees improved.

You see it wasn't acceptable to the company when the shit was in their yard.

Its not just foreigners, Kiwis are as bigger pack of litering oafs as you'll find. Today I filled two supermarket bags with beer cans speights bottles from a 50m stretch near the lake edge.


Anonymous said...

"What got to us were the people, domestic and foreign who deemed it their 'right' to ignore the camp, park on the beach and leave their shit behind."

Good point George. These guys do indeed seem to think they have that 'right'. Spend a couple of bucks and go to a campsite boys. I'm sure you're good for it.

gravedodger said...

@ annonymous 7 45, If camps had an area for SC compliant vehicles then many would use it for "a couple of bucks" even a couple of couple of bucks but when the gouging pricks want one nights fees (up to $40) just to use their "dump station" then it becomes more problematical.
You see the camp offers nothing that many Local authorities offer for no fee in the interests of compliance with 'self containment'
This legislation will make bugger all difference to the shitters in the woods.

ps I agree with your comments re NZers and glass cans etc. that is another matter even if a minor connection as much of that litter is spontaneous party litter and not "camping".

oysterfiend said...

We own a small Camping ground.
Our sewerage system cost over $60,000 eleven years ago. We are a husband and wife team- my husband also works 2 hours away full time.
We have spent hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars improving our facilities.
We are on the water's edge and we pay Environment Waikato nearly $6-$700 yearly for administration and discharge fees.
Now, there is park over property down the road from us.
It used to be 1-2 vans a night.
Now its up to six or seven a night and we have none.
We have promoted this person's Boat storage yard on our website and this is how we are repaid.
The owner is breaking the law, she pays no tax and no compliance fees,
but charges (albeit a lot less than us) per van for absolutely nothing but parking.
She is in fact acting as a camping ground. Even if she were charging nothing she is still breaking the law.
We can now only rarely offer part time work to community folk.
I have to do everything myself because GST and compliance costs are breaking us. We have been operating 12 years and never has it been so bad as in the last three years, and this woman is Cashing it in with Motor caravan association members.
Don't cry foul if and when land values do ever rise again, because then we will sell it all up. This is why camping grounds are closing down. People want their holidays subsidised and camp owners in remote locations can't break even let alone make money.
Be assured we don't have fancy vehicles etc-
(but many of the wings members we see do), and park down the road for peanuts, but come down and want to use our dump station afterwards.
Our sewerage is carted away about 120 kms away at a cost up to $1600- $2000 a time .
No wonder we cry foul when we see vehicles parked up on the side of the road. Many independent camping owners are very generous and have partners working full time offsite, to subsidise their camps,
If we charged what it cost us to keep our establishments open we would have no customers at all.