Freedom camping and caravan waste

This page provides information on the New Zealand Standard 5465:2001 for self containment of caravan waste. 

Purpose of the self-containment standard for motor homes and caravans

New Zealand welcomes tourists from around the world and offers a wide range of accommodation options. Freedom camping is an option for some tourists. 

Freedom camping does not usually create problems but there have been some instances of inappropriate human waste disposal causing concern in communities. A caravan self-containment standard has been created to help reduce problems associated with waste disposal from motor homes and caravans.

About the standard 

The New Zealand Standard 5465:2001 Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans (NZX 5465) requires:

  • a minimum of three days of self containment for water supply, greywater and septic waste
  • a detailed self containment certificate be issued to the owner of a compliant vehicle, which must be kept in the vehicle
  • a self containment warrant sticker to be placed on the inside left front window (see Figure 1)
  • a self containment sticker to be placed on the back of the vehicle on the bottom right-hand corner of the rear window or the right-hand side of the rear bumper (see Figure 2).

More information on the standard is available by entering NZS 5465:2001 A1 in the search box on the Standards New Zealand website.

Certified self containment warrant stickers 

The following self containment warrant stickers (see Figure 1 and Figure 2) are required under NZS 5465.

Figure 1: Certified self containment warrant sticker required under NZS 5465 (details for illustration only)

Image of Figure 1

Figure 2: Rear of vehicle self containment sticker required under NZS 5465

Image of Figure 2

Gaining certification

Any plumber or other suitably qualified person registered under the Plumber, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 1976 is eligible to certify compliance with NZS 5465. The standard also provides for other entities to be issuing authorities if they have a suitable scheme for certifying testing officers.

In addition to registered plumbers, issuing authorities include the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association which has testing officers in multiple locations. A database of caravans that are certified may be searched on their website see the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association website.    

Stickers under transitional arrangements

NZS 5465 was amended in March 2012. Due to transitional arrangements for implementation of the March 2012 amendment, there are two additional warrant stickers (see Figure 3 and 4) that could be found on the left front windscreen of vehicles. These are valid only until the expiry date on the warrant stickers. 

The sticker in Figure 3 was previously available to issuing authorities from the Ministry for the Environment, but is no longer issued as it has been replaced by the warrant design sticker outlined in Figure 1. The yellow sticker certified by the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZCMA) (see Figure 4) is also no longer issued as it has been replaced by the new warrant sticker (see Figure 1).

There is also a responsible camper sticker (see Figure 5) that could be displayed on the back of compliant vehicles tested by the NZMCA before the 2012 amendment to the standard. This sticker remains current under the standard until the self containment warrant sticker has expired.

Figure 3: Old-style certified self containment warrant sticker: valid only until expiry date

Figure 4: Old-style certified self containment warrant sticker: valid only until expiry date

Figure 5: Old-style responsible camper voluntary sticker: valid only until the self containment warrant sticker has expired

Further information

NZS 5465 may be purchased from Standards New Zealand. The March 2012 update of the standard is available in electronic format free of charge (updated portions only). To locate the free upgrade enter NZS 5465:2001 A1 in the search box on the Standards New Zealand website.

Reviewed:
21/07/15