top of page

Self Containment for Campervans in NZ

AKA: CSC (Certified Self Contained) NZS 5465:2001

Dougy - SOLD
The "Blue Sticker" - placed of the back of CSC vehicles


Recent law changes mean that as of June 2023, the Self Containment standard is no longer voluntary and now the standard has been altered and superseded by legislation and passed into law. There will be a 2 year transitional period to allow those vehicles that are currently covered by the old standard to reconfigure to make sure they pass the new specifications.


In simple terms, Certified Self Containment standard NZS 5465:2001 (simply referred to as CSC from now on) is a NEW ZEALAND standard developed as a way to manage the health risks to individuals and communities in relation to people travelling or living in motorhomes or caravans.

In even simpler terms, CSC is a way of making sure travellers in vehicles contain all their rubbish, bodily waste and waste water whilst touring the country. The standard ensures that vehicles can contain all their waste for 3 days.

If you happen to be a member of any of the NZ travel Facebook groups you will no doubt have read varying opinions about the legality, suitability and interpretations of CSC. This article will not go into any of that debate and will simply guide you on how to get your vehicle certified.

Before starting any work it might be a good idea to contact your local 'CSC Officer' who may have some additional advice to supplement what is outlined below. Here is a couple of links to a North Island & South Island list of self containment officers (via NZ LIfeStyle Camping - for whom I am an agent - click here to book a test with BEDVANZ in Wellington)

North Island CSC Officers -

South Island CSC Officers -


To be clear this article is NOT intended to cover all options available to all the different motorhomes and caravans available. The article covers what is probably a typical setup for a small to medium (backpacker/weekender/Hiace) sized campervan.

You should also be aware that the specifications outlined below may change slightly to match the new Standard that is currently being introduced

In order for your vehicle to be certified it must have the following:

- A fresh water tank

- A waste water tank

- A sink

- A hose that will drain away your waste water from your sink

- A 'smell trap' between your sink and waste water tank

- A breather pipe that vents from your waste tank to the outside of the vehicle

- A seal-able waste container to be used as a rubbish bin

- A toilet ( EDIT: portable toilets are no longer acceptable)

Unfortunately it's not as simple as that so I will go through each item in more detail


The standard has many many details which may not be mentioned here so if you are unsure please contact us and we can help guide you.


  • The fresh water tanks MUST be able to hold enough water for the number of occupants. The CSC standard says that you MUST be able to supply 12 litres of fresh water for person (4 litres per person per day for3 days). So if you want to be self contained for 2 people your tank MUST be able to hold at least 24 litres.

  • Fresh water tanks MUST be certified as FOOD GRADE and if a hose is used to feed a tap/faucet then a FOOD GRADE hose MUST also be used (standard garden hose may slowly poison you) .

  • Fresh water tanks and fresh water hoses MUST also be opaque (not see-through)

  • Fresh water tanks can either be fixed or portable (See diagram below for a portable tank example)

  • ALL connections MUST have water tight seals


  • The capacity of the waste tank shall not be less than, and preferably larger than, the capacity of the fresh water tank.The CSC standard says that you MUST be able to hold at least 12 litres of waste water for person (4 litres per person per day for 3 days). The waste tank can be less volume than the fresh water, as long as it is greater than the minimum size required AND has a clearly visible, functioning monitor to indicate how full it is.

  • Waste water tanks MUST have a 'breather hose'. This hose must go out from the top of the tank, up to at least the level of the top of the sink and then it must exit to the exterior of the vehicle. The breather hose MUST be at least 10mm in diameter.

  • The waste hose that fills the tank and comes from the sink MUST be at least 18mm in diameter.

  • Removable waste water tanks are allowed as long as they are connected with a water tight seal and the pipe that feeds them has a shut-off valve.

  • All waste tanks shall be constructed of non-corroding material.

  • If the waste tank is fixed it MUST have a separate EVACUATION HOSE. The hose shall be fitted with a seal-able coupling for attaching it to the waste holding tank evacuation valve. The waste hose shall have a minimum length of 3 metres and the diameter shall be no less than waste tank evacuation valve. The hose shall be carried in a separate sealed container if not carried in its own locker.


  • All vehicles MUST have a sink

  • The sink MUST be attached to the vehicle/kitchen cupboard (not loose or portable)

  • Every sink, hand basin or shower fitted shall be supplied with water from the fresh water tank, in such a way to ensure that there is no back siphoning.

  • The diameter of the hose exiting a sink MUST be no smaller than 18mm

WASTE HOSE (between sink and waste tank)

  • The waste hose MUST have a 40mm smell trap (see diagram)

  • The trap can be anything from a PVC u-bend pipe to a loop in a flexible hose (see diagrams)

  • The waste hose MUST have a shut-off valve


  • The vehicle must be fitted with a sealable refuse container designed for the purpose and of suitable capacity for the number of occupants. (Plastic bags hanging on a hook inside cupboard doors etc are not acceptable). An extra large 'Tupperware' box with lid is fine. As is a small painters bucket and lid from Bunnings.


  • Toilets MUST have sufficient waste holding capacity to provide for the occupants of the vehicle for a minimum of three days. The waste holding capacity shall be the net capacity after deducting the internal flushing water. The capacity per person per day is 1 litre, e.g. 2 people for the three day self containment period would require a net total of 6 litres.

  • The toilet MUST be readily usable within the vehicle, including sufficient head and elbow room when required, even with the bed made up.

Self Containment example (click for larger image)

I think it's important to understand that there are many ways and different setups to meet the standard and as long as they meet the basic principles your setup should 'pass'.

Once you have completed your setup it is time to go back to your local CSC Officer and arrange a test.

Your CSC officer will guide you through the finals stages of getting your new blue warrant card. They should be able to issue you with a blue sticker for the rear of your vehicle but it is the blue warrant card and the paper part of your certificate that count the most.

Good luck!

If you have any questions about certified self containment then please email me at


(originally posted by Bette Cosgrove - Freedom Camping ambassador)

YES the Freedom Camping law has changed for vehicle freedom campers.

Here's a list of all the Pages giving you CURRENT INFORMATION on the new amendments for Motor Vehicle Self-Containment - if you need to review what is required for your vehicle or towable camper to be self-contained and OK to freedom camp.

- Freedom Camping in vehicles ONLY is affected - if you only stay in paid campgrounds these rules do not apply. - Tent camping is not included. - Homeless people are not regulated by this changed law. - For NZMCA members check their info for how they will specifically manage CSC requirements on their properties.

- Any non CSC vehicle may still camp in areas allocated by the (13) Councils who provide non-self-contained sites near toilets, and some (25) basic freedom camps where DoC do not require CSC.

MBIE information and updates

The legislation which passed June 6 2023

The PROPOSED technical regulations for how to comply with new rules for Certification of Self-containment -

NOTE these will be finalised within 6 months (December 2023) and in the meantime a Blue Warrant can be obtained from ANY current certifying authority / or member of Plumbers Drainlayers Gasfitters Board member - by following the rules in NZSTANDARD 5465:2001 PLUS a permanent fitted or fixed toilet (NOT allowed any form of portable toilet from now) - link to NZS

Here at BEDVANZ we highly recommend joining the following Facebook Group to keep up to date on any changes that may be made around Certified Self Containment.

FREEDOM CAMPING ADVICE NZ (opens an external Facebook link)


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page