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.
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:
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:
Changes to infringement fees and fines
You can read more about these changes at:
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:
Timeline for changes to the freedom camping rules
Some changes to freedom camping rules will be gradually implemented over time.
Timeline for freedom camping rules
Alternative text for timeline infographic
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:
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.
Information for vehicle owners
Information for local authorities
Information for prospective certification authorities and vehicle inspectors
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: