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So you want to freedom camp

Miriam Richardson

We are in a transition period from the old ‘blue’ warrant system to a new ‘green’ warrant system. The transition period is set to expire 7 June ’25. There is a small possibility that the Minister might choose to extend the transition period; the law allows this until 7/6/27. It could help, with so many needing to be certfied by so few.


Some (but not all) can freedom camp with their blue warrants during the transition period (more). At the end of the transiton period green warrant cards will be required for anyone freedom camping. See note at the end for more on ‘blue’ and ‘green’ warrants.


Can you actually go green?


The new system is not yet ready to do the job. As at Feb ’24 only 29 can do this work in the whole of the country. This is so spectacularly inadequate, that it has been estimated that those 29 would need to certify 260 vehicles a day to get everyone through before the 2025 end of the transition period. Further, the rental motorhome fleets all have to be recertified before 7 Dec this year, which will leave little opportunity for us.


When can you or I choose to re-certify for a green warrant? Unknown.


Might your blue warrant expire before you have a chance to get a green warrant? This is a distinct possibility. Check your expiry date and give that some thought.


What upgrades must you do?


We are faced with making bizarre and expensive modifications before we can be certified green. It is possible, but not at all certain, that some of these regulations might fall to commonsense, in a revision process that could take as long as 6 months. There is an advantage if we can delay upgrading and going green until the outcome is clear.


It is worth considering renewing your blue warrant before 7 Jun ’24 to extend your personal transition time to the maximum, a transition-end date of Jun ’25 (or later, if the transition period were to be extended).


7 June: A last chance for new blue or renew


7 June ‘24 is the last day you can renew (or get a new) blue warrant with a fixed toilet, and use it for freedom camping during the transition period. After that, only a new green warrant can be issued for freedom camping.


 

Which is you?

What are your choices if you want to freedom camp?


Self-contained with a blue warrant and a fixed toilet


  1. Upgrade and GET A GREEN warrant before your blue warrant expires or transition-end (likely 7 Jun ‘25). A fixed toilet is just one of the requirements (ckw.nz/go-green).


    1. RENEW YOUR BLUE warrant before 7 Jun ’24 to maximise the transition time, and in case your blue warrant expires before you can get a green warrant.

    2. THEN do any upgrades required and GET A GREEN warrant before transition-end (likely 7 Jun ‘25).


Self-contained with a blue warrant and a portable toilet


Once your blue warrant expires you cannot freedom camp with a portable toilet (you need a blue warrant, issued before 7/6/23, not yet expired).


You need to install a fixed toilet (true for blue, probable for green)



    1. Upgrade to a fixed toilet and RENEW YOUR BLUE  warrant before 7 Jun ’24.

    2. THEN do any other upgrades required to GET A GREEN warrant before transition-end (likely 7 Jun ‘25).

  1. Upgrade and GET A GREEN warrant before your blue warrant expires or transition-end (likely 7 Jun ‘25). A fixed toilet is just one of the requirements: ckw.nz/going-green).


Fixed toilet, not yet self-contained



    1. GET A NEW BLUE  warrant before 7 Jun ’24. This will allow you to freedom camp until transition-end (likely 7 Jun ‘25).

    2. THEN do any other upgrades required to GET A GREEN warrant before transition-end (likely 7 Jun ‘25).

  1. Upgrade and GET A GREEN warrant now. A fixed toilet is just one of the requirements: ckw.nz/going-green).


Portable toilet, not yet self-contained


You need to install a fixed toilet (true for blue, probable for green).



    1. Upgrade to a fixed toilet and get a new blue warrant before 7 Jun ’24. This will allow you to freedom camp until transition-end (likely 7 Jun ‘25).

    2. THEN do any other required upgrades to get a green warrant before transition-end (likely 7 Jun ‘25).

  1. Upgrade and get a green warrant now. A fixed toilet is just one of the requirements: ckw.nz/going-green).


 

Why extend your transition time


  • There are too few certifiers and inspectors to meet the current need.

  • There may be no inspectors in your area.

  • If your blue warrant expires before you can get a green warrant, you are barred from freedom camping.

  • The regulations might be updated in the next 6–8 months to change requirements; wait until it is clear.

  • There might be so many people wanting parts and services at the same time that upgrading may be both difficult and slow.

  • The transition period might be extended as long as 2 years.

  • It will be so expensive! Another year before paying the new fees is a bonus.


Just get it done!


  • Get it off your mind, and go freedom camp.

  • Save the cost and effort of an interim blue warrant.

  • Get ahead of the rush for the parts and the professionals to install them.

  • Get ahead of any last minute rush for certification.

  • Accept that the upgrade costs might turn out to be unnecessary.


 

Important dates


7 June ‘24


Last chance for a new or renewed blue warrant you can use to freedom camp.


TRANSITION-END


7 June ‘25 (unless it’s extended)


7/6/25 is the intended end of the transition period.


GREEN WARRANTs ARE then required


But the transition-end could be delayed.7 June ‘27is the end of the longest possible delay.


 

NOTES


Certified blue: a blue warrant card; certified to the NZ Standard, Self containment of motor caravans and caravans (NZS 5465:2001. The old, existing system. (pdf).


Certified green: a green warrant card; certified to new regulations (ckw.nz/go-green). The new system.


‡ Efforts to overturn the ‘fixed toilet’ regulation continue. This was promised by National on the campaign trail. References here to the need for a fixed toilet for a green warrant will become obsolete if these efforts succeed.


† The transition period started 7 Jun 2023 and is set to expire 7 Jun 2025 (transition-end: 7 Jun ‘25). The legislation allows for the transition period to be extended.

The Minister can set any length extension, to, at the latest, 7/6/27, an extra 2 years (transition-end would be 7 Jun ‘27). Given the logistical problems in the implementation of the new system, the Minister might choose to do this.



 

Articles in this issue on the freedom camping law changes:


Remember JUNE 6: 2024 & 2025

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