NZ Tramper


How many tickets at huts?

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  • I use an annual hut pass so don't usually have this issue, but was taking a few non-tramper family members on part of the round Ruapehu circut last week so had to buy some hut tickets. I understood the huts around Ruapehu to be 2 ticket huts so that is what I purchased. We stayed at Mangaturuturu the first night and the sign on the wall that indicates the number of tickets for all huts, not just this one, had all lines crossed out except the 2 ticket option. It is never clear in the huts how many tickets should be used. I wasn't sure if someone had defaced the sign or that was the way it was meant to be. When we got to Whakapapaiti there was a warden (very nice American lady... when will we see Kiwis as wardens?) Anyway she informed me that the rate is 3 tickets. There is no sign in Whakapapaiti indicating this. I have just been on the DOC web site and once again the info is hard to find. It refers to the Ruapehu huts as "serviced" which will be why they are 3 tickets. Presumably because they fly firewood in, which isn't obvious to the casual user especially if they don't use the fire. But where does it say serviced huts are 3 tickets and where does it say how many tickets I should use at a particulat hut? I get grumpy enough about paying for using huts so I wish they didn't make it hard for me to do so.
  • The bit that gets me is the time of the year that these huts suddenly turn into great walk huts and your annual hut pass is suddenly null and void. The timing seems to shift on an unnotified whim?
  • I haven't tried to find it through the DoC website's navigation, but I googled "serviced hut site:nz" and the top result was this page -- It doesn't state 3 tickets, but it does state $15.30 for a serviced hut. The press release from 2008 about the hut ticket price rise is at , where DoC predictably states that costs have risen and claims it's only fair for users to help subsidise the increase. What annoys me is that they're using an honesty system to subsidise it when there's reasonably strong anecdotal evidence that there are heaps of dishonest people out there as far as paying hut fees. I'd like to know how they justify charging honest people larger amounts rather than trying to get the money from people who presently don't pay at all. Probably because it's the easy way out. Back when hut pass fees went up in July, I tried to find out how much income was generated versus the actual cost being spent on huts. Total pass/ticket income for the year to June 2009 (not including the huts that take bookings such as GW huts) was $1.27 million. Unfortunately the DoC accountant guy wasn't very forthcoming with splitting the $16.5 million annual figure for hut maintenance between Great Walk Huts and regular backcountry huts on the ticket system, so it's still unclear as to how much the non-booking huts actually cost. I summarised things at in any case from about paragraph 8).
  • Now that I go back through the DOC website it isn't as illogical as I first thought. If you want to stay in a hut it is probable that you will drill down from the top through Parks and Recreation, Places to Stay etc etc. When you get to a hut it says it is a serviced hut and then there is another click to where it explains what the categories mean. But it does only say that it is $15.30 and not that it is 3 tickets. I suppose it is that way so that if they change the denominations of the tickets then there is less to change on the web site. On the issue of charges, when they reviewed the system about 10 years ago they identified that the biggest problem was compliance. Then they came up with this daft system of hut passes for various lengths of time, the smallest time being a 3 day pass which was only valid for 3 days after you bought it. If you were going away for a weekend you would have to buy a 3 day pass on Friday night, even if you only had one night in a hut. Then on top of that they proposed doubling the rates. An annual pass was to go up to well over $100. That was totally illogical if the main problem was compliance. Luckily Sandra Lee was the Minister then and she scotched the whole stupid idea from a ministerial level. My personal opinion is that unwardened back country huts should be free. Fair enough generating a bit of revenue from Great Walk huts that warrent having a warden but the backcountry huts should be free. It is a mater of government policy to have a network of huts, it is not dependant of the minimal revenue that they get so the only fair way to apply that policy if a large chunk are not paying, is to make them free.
  • Ahhh pmcke you need to go back and watch yes minister again an oldy but a goody. Your plan is way too simple I could see Humphry having nightmares over that scenario. It simply wouldnt do!
  • I find it's easy enough to find out how many hut tickets you need by going to the DoC website, and it does pay to check because some of their own staff don't know. Two friends in Gisborne went to get tickets for 5 nights for the Rees - Dart.[Where's that?, she said]. They were sold 1x $5.10 ticket each for each night. When the warden at Dart Hut, [serviced /$15.30/night],came to collect the tickets, of course they were short. They were able to make up the cost using my credit card. The warden waived the penalty fee up 'up to double the standard fee if pre-purchases are not made'. [as DoC had got wrong in the 1st place]. The other couple in our group had the correct number of tickets - a wad of 30 for the 5 nights! Easier to get an annual hut pass! I wonder if the Israeli fellows with no tickets got charged double, and do DoC ever recover those fees before they leave the country. Apparently it's quite common not to pre-buy tickets in the hope the warden is not there.
  • I don't think there's any 'apparently' about it. Sometimes I've wondered if overseas travel agents should be being encouraged to promote and sell 3 month or 6 month hut passes as part of package travel deals, or if they should be pushed at people in the International Arrivals terminals, at least as a way to get people to pay for it when they're paying for everything else and before they've spent all their money. Part of it is just going to be a culture clash with people coming from different parts of the world, though. Most of what disturbed me travelling through otherwise awesome places around South America and SE Asia was just the total disrespect that so many international tourists had for local customs and rules. Things like leaving rubbish lying around temples, taking squillions of photographs in sensitive places despite repeated requests not to do so, and so on, and they just acted that way because it was how they'd have acted back home and saw no reason not to do so here. An honesty system generally (not always) works with New Zealanders within NZ because there's a certain culture of trust which doesn't exist everywhere in the world, and if people don't pay you can usually expect they'll leave something as or better than they found it, especially locals. In some places though it's acceptable or even expected to be dishonest or corrupt because everyone does it anyway and everyone compensates for the assumption that others might be trying to rip them off. If you're a victim it's your own fault, and governments are the height of all corruption. And hey, why pay for a government-provided hut with gas heating and cooking that's already almost free when so many other people aren't and are suffering no visible consequences? If there's going to be a charge then an honesty system is what I'd like, but I don't think it works when the country's being promoted for tourism in such a way. It only forces the honest people to subsidise the freeloaders.
  • RE the comments on tracks becoming 'Great Walks'. As a Kiwi purchasing a annual or six monthly hut pass then fairly it ought to include the great walks at no extra charge given that we are constantly contributing through taxes past present and future. As it stands now we are simply subsidising the almighty loopy. We live here they don't it's as simple as that.
  • Aparently DOC got a legal opinion a few years back about charging differential rates for locals and foreigners using huts. The opinion was that it would be in breach of our Bill of Rights. Funny that because other countries certainly do it.
  • I haven't seen this legal opinion but I think the tax arguments get more murky the longer one considers it, especially when not all tax is clearly marked for specific purposes. Tourists still contribute to the tax pool through taxes like GST and petrol taxes, and indirectly through the tax that businesses pay on extra income received from tourists and all the taxes that international airlines and airports generate. What if a tourist's been legally doing temp work and paying a little income tax regardless? How does a tax paying tourist compare with an unemployed New Zealand resident who's living off welfare and paying almost no tax, or a New Zealand Citizen who's not living in NZ much of the time? Not that I personally think it's balanced. I tend to think that the back-country hut system is a great thing for New Zealand residents, and one way or another the way it's implemented shouldn't penalise those people to cater too much to short-term fly-by visitors. I tend to agree with steve2. If there's to be discrimination, maybe it should be done on something like having a work visa (or citizenship/residency), maybe combined with proof of having actually done some work while here. Most people probably don't go to the effort of obtaining a work visa unless they're actually planning to work.
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This topic was closed automatically due to inactivity on 12 June 2014 22:37.
Forum The campfire
Started by pmcke
On 5 January 2011
Replies 22
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