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Camping group gains ground

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

After years trying to get the self containment standard for Motor Caravans and caravans looked into, Responsible Campers Association Inc has this week been told a NZStandards staff member has been assigned to look into their concerns, and to discuss any issues with staff and management. The advise came after the Department of Internal Affairs took the issues up with NZStandards on behalf of Responsible Campers Association.

The standard focuses on the facilities in a camper vehicle, which it must have to last 3 days. The facilities are waste orientated and do not include matters relating to personal hygiene such as showers. It provides no education on the principles or expectations of Freedom Camping and has come under attack recently due to only being applicable to a small minority of Freedom Campers defined in legislation, but often used as a restriction on all freedom campers.

The concerns were outlined in a detailed report that was sent to NZStandards, Government Ministers and media last week. They involve issues around credit-ability, interpretation, perceived Authorities and the inappropriate use of the standard by private organizations and clubs.

There are reported issues of compliance with Bill of Rights, as well as the Bylaws Act.The Standard has had no Government oversight since 2012, with its promotion and enhancement being left to private groups. This is where allegation of appropriate use are being investigated.

Evidence has related to Council signage stating the Standards certification is only accepted from one specific organization, while there are many others that are able to issue certifications and a complaint to Commerce Commission that was assessed as having ‘merit’ which related to the issuing of certifications and the authority being projected publicly by one particular group.

Amendments that were meant to see a solution provided for toilet use in conjunction with smaller camp- vehicles, has turned into little more than a joke, the solution promised has not been forthcoming and all it has achieved is to further drive campers towards the bush.

Many outdoor clubs and organizations see the NZStandard and its use, as little more than a scam - being used by RV groups as a money making program, while contributing nothing of value to freedom camping. Its promotion since the Freedom Camping Act was established in 2011, has been badly misplaced and used against all freedom campers including those unable to be certified under the Standard or able to attend specific sites with facilities by night (Holiday Parks).

The promotion of the standard over the past 9 years as a solution to everything Freedom Camping, while providing no such solutions, has prevented the ability for key stakeholders to look at other more practical ways to provide needed solutions.

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