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Summer 2022


How many freedom campers are there?

Bette Cosgrove and Miriam Richardson

Nobody knows. The Ministry has made some guesses.

'Certified self contained' freedom campers

MBIE, the government ministry charged with providing the Minister of Tourism with facts, does not know how many freedom camping vehicles there are.

They do not know how many private vehicles, that are currently certified self contained, would become ineligible because their toilets are not fixed (if the law changes, as proposed).

They have estimated (because they do not know) that there are 73,000 vehicles currently certified, all of which have usable toilets, but they do not know what kind of toilet. [

MBIE estimates the rental fleet at 5,000 vehicles, and they do not know how many of those have fixed or non-fixed toilets either.

Responsible, but uncertified freedom campers

MBIE does not know how many New Zealanders use their vehicles to freedom camp.

How many freedom campers shit in the bushes?

MBIE do not know. They have an estimate from a small survey, of how many don't use their onboard toilets, but they did not ask, so they do not know, how many of those used public toilets instead. See Talking to four van loads of international tourists for some real life information on this.

How many NZ travellers, not camping, get caught short and use the bushes as a loo?

MBIE do not know, and I don't think they have even considered this, nor the inadequate provision of public facilities across the country.

They, and we, can pretty safely assume that travellers that don't expect to camp probably don't carry a toilet (fixed or unfixed) with them.

All in all, an appalling lack of facts

All in all, the lack of facts underlying the proposed legislative changes is pretty appalling.

These changes will affect New Zealanders for generations to come, and are being rushed through, regardless of a profound lack of facts.


ISSN 2815-827X (Online) | ISSN:2815-8261 (Print)


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