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Winter 2024


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assume the new laws apply everywhere

Where are we at with self-containment and freedom camping?

M Richardson

If you do not want to freedom camp you do not need the new green warrant. The existing blue standard and blue warrant is still acceptable for all other places that require certified self-containment (so far).

■ The new government is not making any of the changes it championed in the Select Committee stages of the amendment to the Freedom Camping Act.

 Green warrant cards for freedom camping are being issued, as long as you meet the eight new requirements. See PGDB diagram and link, p8

■ There are still insufficient testers across the country for the number of vehicles that need warrants in the available time. Search the list here (put in your region first).

■ Costs for getting a 4-year green warrant vary from $200 to $300, including the $120 PGDB levy.

■ The NZMCA has indicated that it will not be issuing green warrant cards until or unless the venting requirements for cassette toilets are lifted. They intend to issue non-green cards for those who do not wish to freedom camp (or pay the government levy) which will be sufficient proof of self-containment for NZMCA parks and events and, presumably, their park over properties.

■ The peculiarities around the venting of toilet cassettes is still required for a green warrant. There are indications that this vent rule will be changed to exclude cassette and compost toilets but this won’t be confirmed until later in the year, if you can trust the politicians.

■ Aside from the venting issue the other peculiarities around self-containment managed by the Plumbers and Gasfitters Board are going to remain part of the regulations. There is no process or willingness to revise any other rules. The Minister has declared he won’t look at any revisions of the law as a whole until June next year at the earliest.

■ Rental companies must have green warrants by Dec 7 this year if the tourists are to be able to use these vehicles to freedom camp. The rest of us already-certified travellers, have until 7 June 2025.

■ From June next year the law demands that the Government must review any effect on homeless vehicle dwellers.

■ Money from international tourist’s levies, that could have been used to improve facilities for freedom campers has instead been spent on Councils to fund bylaw changes, provide enforcement and ambassador programs, plus fund the new PGDB vehicle certification system. The bulk of these funds was paid by MBIE to the regions with the strongest restrictions (and least provision) for freedom camping such as Queenstown Lakes District.

■ Those with fixed toilets and a blue warrant card issued before 7 Jun 2024 will be able to continue to freedom camp until 7 June 2025.

■ There is no indication that the government will extend the available time beyond 7 June 2025 as the Act allows.

■ Only those certified before 7/7/23 with a portable toilet can freedom camp: no-one else with a portable toilet can freedom camp on council-controlled land.

■ Regions vary in their enforcement of the new legislation. Some regions simply choose not to police the certified vehicle restrictions. Some don’t yet have the bylaws in place to apply restrictions, prohibit areas or offer freedom camping areas for non-self-contained campers.

■ It is safest, from a getting fined point of view, to assume the new laws apply everywhere, and to check the region’s website and their signs very carefully for their current rules. n

Image: ©2024 M Richardson

Freedom camping & self-containment

2 Where are we at with self-containment and freedom camping?

2 Who can freedom camp from now until 7 June 2025?

4 Getting your camping vehicle certified

8 Am I freedom camping?

8 What you need for a green warrant for freedom camping

10 Planning a toilet for the freedom camping green warrant?

12 Venting a toilet cassette: why, what, when and how

14 Keeping up with the self-containment changes

16 Composting and coddiwompling ︎


8 Winter 2024



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