Thanks madpom. In hindsight I think you're right about the generosity thing and I agree with pretty much everything you've said, I think. I'd much prefer the hut network was free. And obviously the hut-fees-get-spent-on-huts claim is easy to satisfy with appropriate accounting. The only time it can ever be contentious is if DoC somehow manages to keep maintaining huts on 1/3 of what's being spent now.
Above being free, though, I think it needs to be fair. And that's really why I think it makes most sense to not charge user fees. Trying to extract money through honesty, especially when there's plenty of evidence that it's not working, simply results in honest people being penalised.
My gripe in the last comment, though, is with people who aren't paying hut fees and then claiming it's for obscure other things DoC's connected with that have barely if any connection to the huts that people are being charged for. Why stop at just DoC, why not the whole frikkin' government? That'd give plenty of reasons to not pay hut fees -- but the government wouldn't care. Really they're just excuses being used so people can morally justify to themselves why they're not paying. What really happens, though, is that they end up ripping off other hut users who actually are paying the fees they're supposed to, and who are now paying higher fees because someone at DoC decided there wasn't enough hut ticket income.
If people want to refuse fees because they think huts should be exempt of user charges, I'm generally okay with that because it's a protest that's clearly connected to the solution. But they should clearly *say* that they're not paying because they think huts should be free, instead of all this silly dancing around justifying it with disconnected reasons about why they hate DoC. Not paying for obscure reasons is pointless and only penalises other hut users. It's impossible for DoC to cater to such reasons without guaranteeing that the same people won't simply come up with another reason as soon as it's resolved. So nobody should ever expect DoC to try.
Good points Izogi it does as you say get murky when you factor in all the miscellany. But say evidence provided at the time of purchase eg citizenship/residency/work/study visa (as per an FMC card etc) could give a great walk fee waiver. Also the non-Rogernome holistiv viewpoint that not all society enhancing contributions have a dollar value, volunteers and those who do non profit research... the hole gets deeper!
I buy an annual hut pass every year and the fact i also get a FMC discount makes it even better value.The hut maintenance has to be paid some way and the fact the DOC budget gets smaller and smaller doesnt help[thanks National].