Away from the 70 odd bookable huts on great walks etc - we have another 520 or so huts on our land where DoC expects payment via hut tickets or hut passes and 370 for which no fee is charged. Is the system working?
Does anyone have a clue of how much DOC spends on enforcement and admin of the ticket system? I know it's unlikely to be clear-cut because wardens and desk staff do other stuff, and some of these people are volunteers. But if collected fees only account for a couple of million dollars in the first place, allowing for a significant increase over 2009, it'd be useful to know how much of that needs to cover admin and enforcement of the payment system before it can be spent on something above and beyond.
don't forget aucklands motorways.. No, what I would say would be, instead of us paying $4 each heres a thought: How about MPs stop travelling business class?, how about religious businesses and iwi's start paying taxes?, how about 'legitimate tax avoidance' loopholes used by corporations be closed up? "In 2010 the wealthiest 150 New Zealanders had an increase in wealth of $7 billion – and for the most part they paid no tax on this windfall of unearned riches. But for those on the lowest incomes the tax rates are particularly savage. The lowest 10% of income earners spend 14% of their income on GST while the top 10% spend less than 5% of their income on GST (Goods and Services Tax).." Published by Foreign Control Watchdog Inc, Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand. ISSN 1175-7760. I just think people are being bled dry enough in this country as it is, some of our staff can barely make it from week to week and we pay the highest rates in town. I know one labourer who only has $150 left in his hand a week after he's been ripped child support... Sorry, rant over.
There are tolled roads in NZ. I'm old enough to remember paying to use the AK Harbour Bridge. That's "user pays". On top of that, I know about half of what I pay at the petrol pump is tax & levies. That's "collective or social tax" I can understand how it looks. The new child support regime can be damn near cruel. I would suggest that it's more the non-payers than the payers that are trashing the hut system ?. It's about personal values. Some may think "life's a party that other people pay for" ?. I also appreciate that there are people who do a lot of voluntary good work that feel they've paid way in lieu. Purely personal opinion, but I don't think 'free huts' is going to be in the best interest of looking after what we've got.
@ProActive I think what you are describing is the often called the 'tragedy of the commons'. Yet here is an articles whichs suggests that as an argument it turns out to be a bit of a politically useful myth: http://climateandcapitalism.com/2008/08/25/debunking-the-tragedy-of-the-commons/ How this plays out in relation to our huts and tracks? That is a question I don't have a simply clear answer for. But I'd suggest the principles are much the same - strong community, clear values and open peer pressure.
After a separate message from @pro-active I checked, and DOC's more recent annual reports include data about revenue from back-country huts, presumably tickets and passes, as well as revenue from Great Walks. Unfortunately the stated 'Huts' expenditure still isn't split between huts which are largely used as Great Walk huts with Great Walk bookings, and huts where regular tickets and passes can be used. But, comparing with those ye June 2009 figures from earlier... DOC's spending on 'huts' (including the Great Walk network): ye June 2009: $16,513,000 .... ye June 2013: $17,680,000 ye June 2014: $18,077,000 DOC's revenue for 'backcountry huts' (not Great Walks): ye June 2009*: $1,279,000 .... ye June 2013: $1,588,000 ye June 2014: $1,606,000 DOC's revenue for Great Walks**: ye June 2009: $3,900,000 .... ye June 2013: $4,806,000 ye June 2014: $5,293,000 * Not included in the 2009 Annual Report. Calculated from a separate email conversation with a DOC accountant some time ago. ** May not be all attributable to hut revenue, as some Great Walks also have booked & paid campsites.
@PhilipW "strong community, clear values and open peer pressure." I agree. I just think those that are willing to pay the fee, or say they have done enough conservation work, for example, to negate paying a fee, are expressing how they value the huts. An 'offering' if you like. i think free huts encourages the rats & mice. That doesn't mean that everyone that wants a free hut is a rat or a mouse !
The huts that are at present 'free' usually are not vermin proof and thus have mice. The modern ones generally don't as the little b's can't get in! The only 'free' hut I stayed in in BC, Canada was overrun with mice - not a pleasant night!
I've been in several serviced huts ($15) which had vermin. Not the new huts admittedly, but there are some older huts which are in the serviced category as well. So paying for a hut does'nt guarantee there will not be holes in your bag of scroggin the next morning.
DoC is effectively managing two hut systems - the 120 or so lodges (see DoCs new website, I'm including most things with vehicle access or more than 20 bunks) and the 830 or so others. While plenty of people use both, I'd suggest that for management purposes it would help to be more aware of the differences between the users, the huts and the issues of each of the systems. DoC already does this to some degree, but the problems seem to become more acute when 'solutions' for one system are imposed on users of huts that really belong in the other. For example the strict user pays model might be the most effective for a lodge on Somes island, but doesn't work very well for Carrington Hut, or Roaring Billy.
@izogi thanks for digging out some figures - but as you suggest, without a further breakdown its hard to get much sense from them. Expenditure per hut category would be interesting and then the expenditure details. On a recent volunteer work party to a remote hut we were surprised by a visit from the 'hut inspector'. Two new warning signs, four screws in a wall panel, one new id number orange tag on the new woodshed and his latest report on the compliance aspects of the hut cost us (the public owners of the land and contractors of DoC) a double helicopter flight (the machine did not stay on site) his days salary? transport? an overnight away from his home base? ... we were very interested in how the money spent on regular 'inspections' compared with the money DoC had put into maintenance of that hut over the previous 20 years. Hut User pays? OK. Pays for what?
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