Freedom camping changes

The Self-contained Motor Vehicles Legislation Act 2023 is now law.

This page was updated on 31 August 2023 following the making of new self-containment Regulations.

Key changes 

The following key changes now take effect:

Changes to where you can freedom camp

In general, you can only freedom camp on local authority land if your vehicle is certified self-contained. Check in with your local authority to find out more:

Find your local authority(external link)

Changes around certifying self-contained vehicles

Vehicles with a portable toilet are no longer able to be certified self-contained. From December 2023 organisations can apply to become certification authorities. You can read more about these changes at:

Information for vehicle owners

Information for prospective certification authorities and vehicle inspectors

Changes to infringement fees and fines

You can read more about these changes at:

Infringement fees and fines

These rules have not changed:

  • Camping in tents
  • Camping in vehicles at commercial campsites
  • Camping in vehicles on private land

You can download a flyer that summarises the key changes for freedom campers here:

Freedom camping changes flyer [PDF, 344KB](external link)

Timeline for changes to the freedom camping rules

Some changes to freedom camping rules will be gradually implemented over time.

Infringement fees and fines

In July 2023 Regulations setting out infringement fees and fines came into law.

For example, these infringements apply to:

  • inappropriately disposing of waste
  • interfering with, or damaging, the environment
  • not leaving a local authority area when required to do so by an enforcement officer.

Find out more about infringement fees and penalties levels:

Infringement fees and penalties table [PDF, 277 KB]

Find out more about Regulations(external link) — New Zealand Parliament 

Impacts on people experiencing homelessness

Freedom camping infringements cannot be applied to people experiencing homelessness. Council enforcement staff should refer these people to social support agencies when appropriate.

Find out how these changes will impact you

More information

The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board is the regulator of the self-contained vehicle system. You can sign up on their website to receive updates in relation to the self-contained vehicle system.

Self-contained vehicles(external link) — Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board

Freedom camping(external link) — Department of Conservation 

Camping in New Zealand(external link) — Tourism Industry Aotearoa

If you have any questions, please review the additional information section below, which has been compiled in response to queries we have received. If you have a question not covered by this material, you can email:

Last updated: 31 August 2023