Who is advocating for New Zealanders who go camping?
There are three national groups that speak to government and councils on behalf of New Zealand campers: the All Points Camping Club of NZ, the NZ Motorcaravan Association (NZMCA), and the Responsible Campers Association. Each of these has a different approach.
The All Points Camping Club of NZ
The All Points Camping Club supports all forms of camping in New Zealand. Their focus is on New Zealanders getting out and enjoying their country. They support tents, poptops, teardrops, tramping, motorhomes, vans, roof-top tents, car camping: if you can camp in or with it, they support it. They also support Leave no trace and Tiaki: Care for New Zealand: taking care of the environment in which we camp is as important as any vehicle certification. They host family camps, see the Events section for the camps currently on the calendar. Their membership is very much smaller than NZMCA, but it is much broader, as it includes campers other than those with motor caravans. The club is run by volunteers.
The All Points Camping Club is associated with NZ Lifestyle Camping Ltd, which has a network of certification officers through the country (see the business section). All Points also participated in the talks with the government while the law was being drafted and continues to work with the government’s agents who are attempting to bring the current inadequate law into force with the new form of self-containment. Many volunteer hours are called for.
The Responsible Campers Association
The Responsible Campers Association places the onus on the people, not the mode of camping, it is, after all, people who are either responsible or not, regardless of the facilities their vehicle has. They offer education, a test, and a certificate for individuals to prove they understand self-containment. This approach has, sadly, gained little traction with government or councils.
The NZ Motorcaravan Association
The NZMCA is primarily concerned with the needs of its members. It has strongly advocated for vehicle certification for self-containment, and has a national group of volunteer officers carrying out the certification checks.
With over 100,000 members, NZMCA has a big voice with government and councils, it participated as the new laws were considered and participates now as they are being enacted. It continues to support the use of portable toilets and is now changing its own rules to allow members with portable toilets to still use their parks.
With a big membership and relatively high annual fees, it is a wealthy club and as well as volunteer board members has a team of people employed who work alongside the board to do this advocacy work.
NZMCA members have four advantages not shared by the wider camping public: (1) they mostly have larger vehicles that can accommodate fixed toilets, (2) they are better off, (3) they have a network of parks around the country, and (4) they have enough members to get big discounts at the Department of Conservation campsites. This means NZMCA members are much less restricted if they are barred from using freedom camps.
NZMCA does speak on behalf of the wider camping public, but their primary focus is the needs of their members.
So, those are the three organisational voices talking with government. There are other camping groups supporting their members to camp; there are others with campsites their members can share. But there are only these three engaging with the government on behalf of New Zealanders who camp.
Making your voice heard
Do you want the government to listen to your needs as a New Zealander who camps? Make your voice heard with the NZMCA if you are a member. Throw your support behind the All Points Camping Club and get a voice for all campers heard by government. Do both.
Talk to your local politicians about the impact of the new laws on your camping experience, and on your enjoyment of our country. The better they understand, the better their decision-making can be.
“What do you get when you join the All Points Camping Club?” someone asked this month. They were thinking discounts, campsites, camping events. And yes, the club offers those too. But the biggest thing you get, that you cant get anywhere else, is a voice talking to the government on behalf of all campers.
If you want campers’ voices heard, join up. Its priceless. Well, membership has a cost, $35, but it is a very small price for the work these volunteers do on our behalf.
From Northland to Southland and All Points in between
“What do you get when you join All Points Camping?” he asked.
You get a voice
(as well as the other things)
More on Freedom camping and self-containment: