Denounce Campervan Certification Timeline | Otago Daily Times News Online

The car rental industry believes it is being wrongly targeted by new rules on campervans and their toilets, saying the proposed timetable is ludicrous.

The Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Act of 2023 was passed into law mid-year and introduced new rules around freedom camping.

Changes have also been made to campervans and their independent toilets. Campervan owners will have to have their vehicles inspected by a registered inspector.

The inspection covers the vehicle’s water supply system, fixed toilets, sewage system, ventilation system and safe storage of rubbish.

Campervan owners will have some time to obtain certification, but there will be a six-month lag between hire vehicles and private operators to do so.

All rental campers must be certified by December 7 of next year, while private owners will have until June 7, 2025 to obtain certification. They will have to obtain green notes, which will last for four years.

New Zealand Car Hire Association chief executive Ben McFadgen said the different dates were a nightmare waiting to happen.

The biggest problem the association faced was that the date for the rental operators was in the middle of the peak tourist season.

“We wonder how local councils and government agencies will deal with the confusion and negative experience of many travelers who rented an independent campervan in late November, which suddenly became not self-contained during their trip on December 7.

“Everyone, from operators to councils, will be commuting and moving 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.

“So what would happen is you would get two campervans, exactly the same, but one would have to be an approved rental, and the other two would come in and do their own thing.”

McFadgen said there were about 5,000 rental campers in New Zealand, and a much larger number of private campers – “tens of thousands”.

Caravan renters were generally high-value travellers, who typically traveled in an environmentally respectful manner.

He said this was very different from the profile and average stay of an economically private vehicle traveler – which is where most of the industry’s concerns arose.

“These travelers can stay for up to three to six months and often do everything they can to stretch their budget.

“The waste-related challenges that these legislative changes have brought to the industry have been largely caused by the bottom line of the private market. Not just international travellers, but New Zealanders themselves.

“We discovered this during the Covid crisis when the borders were closed. The problem of litter and freedom camping was still there.”

He said the least he could do was align the changes to occur outside the peak season, because implementing them before Christmas was ridiculous.

MBIE cannot be contacted by the deadline.

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