A self-contained, uncontainable problem looms on the horizon

The recent change in Freedom Camping regulations is causing concern in the car rental industry. The concern relates to the government’s proposed timeline for the changes to take effect of 7 December 2024 for hired vehicles, and 7 June 2025 for privately owned vehicles.

“While the changes to AVs have been welcomed by campervan hire operators with open arms, the timeline and time lag between hire operators and private owners to implement we believe the changes are a nightmare waiting,” says Ben McFadgen, CEO of the New Zealand Vehicle Hire Association. There does not appear to be any logical reason to separate rental vehicles from private vehicles, and we believe that the move-in dates for all vehicles should be June 7, 2025.

Not least because the timing for charter operators is in the middle of the peak tourist season.

“The average length of stay in a commercial rental is about 2-3 weeks.” “So, we wonder how local councils and government agencies will deal with the confusion and negative experience of many travelers renting an independent carriage in late November, which has suddenly become a non-self-contained part” of their trip on 7 December, says Mr McFadgen.

“Everyone, from operators to councils, will be moving around and making the move in the middle of the busiest months of the year, and we are also likely to see an influx of low-quality private vehicles taking advantage of the stand-alone loophole due to different dates,” says McFadgen. “There will be inconsistent applications of the rule.” , due to different interpretations by people on the ground. This is also inevitable. We are also not sure how councils will effectively identify any unsigned rental vehicles. So, yes, there are complications, and we fear that it will be a group…”

Campervan renters are typically high-value travellers, who pay a premium for convenient and practical campervan facilities to ensure they get the most out of their holiday. They are taught how to use these facilities responsibly and typically travel in a way that respects the environment. Renters receive Drivesafe information prior to arrival, learn about responsible camping and the Tiaki Promise, and receive ongoing support throughout their trip.

This is very different from the profile and average stay of a traveler with a private economy vehicle – which is where most of the industry concerns originate. These travelers can stay for up to three to six months and often do everything they can to stretch their budget. The quality of the camper’s systems and any on-road support is generally not a high priority when choosing their vehicle. It’s often about price and value for money.

“The waste-related challenges that these legislative changes have brought to the industry have largely been caused by the lower end of the private market, not just international travellers, but New Zealanders themselves,” McFadgen says. We discovered this during the coronavirus crisis when borders were closed. The problem of garbage and freedom camps was still there.

“The campervan rental market provides a regulated, engaging platform for tourists to explore New Zealand safely and responsibly – we believe this valuable part of the industry should be supported, rather than deprived, as vehicles move to comply with new regulations.

“The least we can all do is align the changes so they happen outside of peak season, because implementing them in the middle of it is ridiculous. There is also no reason to separate commercial and private campervans, as the transition date for all vehicles in the industry must be June 7, 2025.”

“We believe this will actually deliver a better outcome for the environment, the Tiaki Promise, the traveler experience and the brand for the New Zealand economy,” says McFadgen.

© Scoop Media

(Tags for translation)Vehicle Rental Association

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