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RV Certification Voluntary And Unenforceable

Press Release – Responsible Campers Association Inc

This year has seen a marked increase in complaints about the Self Containment Certification for Caravans and Motor Caravans. Self Containment Certification specifies that an RV must have certain facilities like tanks for fresh and dirty water, rubbish bin …

This year has seen a marked increase in complaints about the Self Containment Certification for Caravans and Motor Caravans. Self Containment Certification specifies that an RV must have certain facilities like tanks for fresh and dirty water, rubbish bin and a toilet. It is about management of waste, not personal hygiene.

While Responsible Campers Association Incorporated (RCAi) has often been at the front line exposing the many faults and non-compliant aspects of the standard, other outdoor recreational groups have added weight to the concerns exposed by RCAi. Of particular concern is that Councils are being constantly lobbied by RV groups to use self containment certification as a limitation against all Freedom Campers.

Between allegations of scams, farces and other unlawful agenda’s being driven by Self Containment Certification, we look at what it really comes down to and the big question

Is it legally enforceable?

Up until 2012, Ministry of the Environment (MfE) had held the position of Administrative Authority for the Standard – their role was to appoint testing officers and Issuing Authorities for the Certification. 

During the establishment of the Freedom Camping Act, the Standard was promoted by a private RV organization for inclusion but failed on many points – some being that it was non-compliant with the Bill Of Rights Act (BORA) as it related to proportionality as it was only available for a small minority group of Freedom Campers being defined by the Act. The Act covers many modes o camping like tents, bivouacs, Motor vehicles as well as the more common RV’s – the later group being the only ones capable of being certified as self contained.

Six months after the Act was passed without the inclusion of self containment certification, the MfE had made the necessary changes to the Standard to enable them to cease their role as administrator. RV Clubs and businesses could from then on appoint their own Testers and become their own Issuing Authorities. In response to an 2014 Official Information Application, MfE stated “Certification is not mandatory, so there is no Government oversight or enforcement of the certification process. Voluntary standards are not enforceable”. (1)

A additionally NZStandards themselves state that “a Standard is not, of itself mandatory or legally required. A Standard has to be incorporated by reference in an Act or delegated legislation in order to be mandatory. Once referenced, it becomes part of the technical regulation framework.”.

Remember that even with extensive lobbying the Self Containment Standard was never included in the Freedom camping Act so remains unenforceable

Councils can write the standard NZS;5465 into as many Bylaws as they like – but that still fails to make it enforceable in law.

Meantime RCAi and outdoor groups are left wondering just what problems it was that the Standard was ever suppose to solve, as it provides no education with the sole focus being the facilities in a RV. Meantime the majority of campers that can not even meet the requirements of the Standard, go about their recreational activities and Freedom Camping with out the complaints often heard about that minority group in RV’s.

Spokesman for Responsible Campers Association Inc, Bob Osborne states “ RCAi will expose non-compliance aspects of Freedom Camping, whether that is Certified Self Containment, site specific camping or any other aspect. Our focus is to educate campers in what is expected of them as that applies for all Freedom Campers regardless of modes or club affiliations. We lobby to make camping fair for everyone not just the minority group in RV’s. Traditional Camping in Tents is a ‘right’ – Glamping in RV’s not so much”. The Freedom Camping Act covers all in a manner which is also fair and encompasses every imaginable scenario – the problem is Councils enacting non-compliant aspects of Bylaws”.

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https://fyi.org.nz/request/6988/response/24942/attach/html/7/06%20freedom%20camping%20standard.pdf.html?fbclid=IwAR15ptVaAPG4yYWesR0KJ4rNvhkwW0cKMRMgIbwVMXg6GU6bk2jL-zoseE0

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