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Third anniversary of change to self containment rules for RV's

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Can you use that toilet with bed made up?

Many freedom campers in smaller vehicles would have had this question put to them in the past several years.

May this year marks the 3rd anniversary of the change to the self containment rules for RV’s, which requires that any portable toilet is able to be used in a camper vehicle with the bed made up.

Freedom Camping News, looks at what this means and just what has been achieved by this regulatory change.

It has been well promoted as the "bed made up rule" and that the toilet must be able to be used at all times with sufficient head and elbow room.

It is not that simple or straight forward, and as has been confirmed by several Government Departments the self containment standard only applies when actually camping.

A thorough study and understanding of the new amendments, reveals that once camping a portable toilet maybe used in a toilet tent or awning. (remember that is the only time the requirements apply)

That sounds like an excellent solution to what could other wise be a shortage of room for a portable toilet in a small eco-friendly type camper right? -WRONG..

The problem arises when you read that in order to be able to use a toilet tent or awning for that portable toilet you first have to meet the requirements for use inside your camper vehicle with the ‘bed made up".. Crazy and short sighted requirements.

New Zealand’s Largest RV club, who also funded and promotes the amendment states on its website.

"It appears testing officers throughout the industry have developed varying interpretations of the new toilet requirements under section 6.1.1 of the revised Standard. We have been made aware of certain vehicle types continuing to be certified when they do not comply with the purpose and intent of new section 6.1.1".

They then also produce a list of vehicles which in their opinion, are unable to be certified as self contained - even for one person. Such list includes the likes of Toyota Ambulances (Jumbo Toyota Hi ace Vans) Utes and other reasonable sized vehicles as well as smaller people mover type vehicles.

However, if one of those banned vehicle’s belongs to an existing member of that club and has previously been certified self contained, the club will reissue a certificate as long as it meets the new ‘bed made up’ rule.

That ban on certifying of small vehicles was in place for 2 years while they attempted to sort out the shambles which they themselves had created. That 2 years ended last week with said club announcing the the ban remains for another year.

What does ‘bed made up’ mean?

In common definitions, to make a bed is to tidy sheets and blankets as in a bed being newly set. The definition that is claimed in the standard, is something quite different with many small campers able to fold up beds so that during the day a table may be set for dining at. The claimed definition in the standard is to have the bed frame/base made up. Is it any surprise there are differing interpretations when common definitions are used to describe something very different to normal?

In short the only achievement this amendment can lay claim to, is to create more confusion, drive more Freedom camping underground and maybe, just maybe create a situation where some campers dispose of their Portable toilets,. Afterall if they can no longer get self containment certification due to crazy rules around portable toilets why have them? The room taken up by the toilet is useful for other purposes, and after all -public toilets are everywhere (NOT)! - Another failure of NZ’s inability to provide basic, much needed infrastructure. It is not just campers that need toilets either !

One would not be concerned about what rules a RV club imposes on it own members, but it becomes a huge problem when they fund amendments to NZStandards and promote other freedom camping solutions to address problems, which fail to provide the solutions sought. That they then publicly accuse non self contained campers for that failure is illogical, meaningless and deliberately misplaced.

Until those organizations that have influence Government and Council’s, can show they have an ability to think outside the square, provide real solutions and admit when they are wrong - we, Kiwi outdoor users, are deemed to severe restrictions on our chosen past-times that can not be seen as justifiable or fair in a democratic society.

So far the ability to be heard, has been refused to all outdoor users apart for RV users, who make up less than 20% of freedom campers as defined by the Freedom Camping Act 2011.

Us hunters alone are a larger group!

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