Hut Fees

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?
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Good points Hugh. Re money spent on inspections by DOC & them then not acting on maintenance found to need doing has bugged me for years and and also annoys some DOC staff. Hut inspections are only four yearly not annually now I think. The inspector arriving while your party was at Tunnel Creek was just coincidence as that hut was due for a check! Having stupid things like fire exit signs on small huts with one door, some other signage and safety rails on upper bunks are things DOC staff get marked on so more effort seems to go in to complying with things like this than fixing important things like leaks or dealing with rodent problems. Much money was spent on helicopter time some years back visiting huts and structures just to put an asset number in/on them. The same thing happened again with the installation of upper bunk safety rails in some huts. A hell of a lot could have been achieved if this money instead went in to hut maintenance. Some things are on the improve but some things stay the same with DOC!
"Hut User pays? OK. Pays for what?" I don't think I'd mind if stuff like cooking gas was user pays. It's a nice convenience but I think you're probably taking a chance if you're not already carrying your own (unless you don't need to cook). Still, maybe then there becomes even a higher expectation from people that gas cooking should definitely be available and working if they've paid for it. Maybe heating fuel too, except it'd be harder to manage because it's more like a public good once you're in a hut. It's hard for one person to pay and use it without everyone getting it, so there's more of a free rider problem.
just the huts being there is reason enough to pay. That someone cut a track and marked it on a map is a bonus. Thats enough for the basics and standard huts anyway. If you read the definitions you see that for serviced you get heating firewood and cooking although that now means a hotplate top on the woodburner. Even then Ive collected firewood nearly as often at serviced huts as non serviced. Ive also used my own stove in a serviced hut when they were still supplying gas stoves. Tutawai with only 12 people but in 4 groups each with own menues etc so by using own stove it allowed a lot less pressure on the 4 provided burners
@Hugh vN: "@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." I've now politely requested that breakdown under the OIA. It could be up to a month even if they're on time, assuming they can break down their 'Huts' expenditure in that way. In other news, I guess it's also meaningful to consider what other expenditure goes into your outing. Last year in exchange for the $1.6 million-odd user-pays dollars which DOC collected from hut tickets, it also spent just under $50 million on 'tracks' on top of the $18 million on 'huts', although again it's unclear how much of that might be being spent on the Great Walk superhighways whose user-pays contribution comes independently of hut tickets. I guess there are at least a couple of polarised ways to look at this, which we've already been debating. One is that we should pay hut fees to help offset the cost for DOC. Another is to ask if it's worth bothering to collect what seems like such a small amount compared with what's spent in exchange. Right now it's not necessarily paying 50% of the cost through user-pays. It may be more like paying 2% or maybe 5% through user-pays, depending on how much is being spent on Great Walks, which is a huge unknown.
The amount DOC spends on the Great Walks must be truely staggering and must surely eclipse the money spent on all the other back country tracks compared. This summer just been there was at least 50 1 tonne gravel bags along the Routeburn between Lake Mackenzie and The Divide. Choppered in at 2 at a time, thats a lot of helicopter hours, simply for delivering 1 type of track "supplies".

This thread branched to "Wasting DoC's limited funds" on . Explore the branch (5 messages).

remember Ultimate hikes are part funding the routeburn through the concession fees they pay DOC. someone from DOC tole me they pay "a lot of money" to DOC. he didn't say how much or if he knew the exact figure. I was there one time and ultimate hikes were doing work on their hut, the helicopter was going back and forward to the road end from the falls all day long. if the weather is bad their clients get a free flight between Mackenzie and the falls. each client is paying around $1200 minimum from memory to do the walk.. more if they upgrade their accommodation from bunk room to their own private room.... I think they are guiding up to 40 walkers on each trip now after their hut expansion.
I don't know how much it is either, but in total DOC received $13.777 million in total concession income for the year ending June 2014, so it's probably something less than that if everything they pay is listed under concessions. Note that concession income probably also includes concessions for non-recreation stuff. That $13m concession revenue figure has stayed roughly consistent for at least the past 3 financial years, but DOC also reports income from partnerships. From ye2012 to ye2014, it's been jumping from $3.3m to $5.2m to $6.5m, which probably matches what DOC's been saying about chasing businesses to sponsor stuff. I'd guess that most of the partnership stuff falls onto the conservation side rather than recreation, but others might know better.
Huts/lodges that are large enough and heavily enough used should be in their own category, have wardens and be managed appropriately. Systems, costings, requirements, concessions .... appropriate for these lodge systems should not be assumed to be appropriate for other recreational huts. IMO (of course) Back country huts fees would generate more money for less compliance costs if re-organised around a Pass system. Systems that require enforcement but that cannot be enforced are stupid. Systems where the money spent on compliance and monitoring exceed the money spent on development and maintenance are stupid. We (the people who value and use back country huts) need to take back responsibility for the hut track and bridge system we currently have and rethink what we delegate to our employees (DoC). There are numerous benefits for conservation when people actively interacting with conservation lands through recreation are more involved in the provision and ongoing maintenance of recreational facilities including huts, tracks and bridges.
Well put Hugh as always mate, and PhillipW very good link! This user pays racket seems to be the theme for everything these days, I'm thinking about becoming a consultant myself, as they seem to be the only group that benefits from a system such as ours... What about all the remote huts which the DoC abandoned and permalat took over? and also all the clubs huts which are managed by the DoC? There are more than just the 3 categories of huts really. Then theres the huts that aren't on the map but there they are! Like the one up on the ridge behind Mt Larkins (above GY), don't know who built it but its there..
I received my OIA response today. Here's the updated table. I've inserted the third section for spending on backcountry huts. (ye 2013 and 2014 are the only ones that can be compared with the displayed revenue figures). DOC's spending on 'huts', including the Great Walk network, capital charge costs, and an allocation for corporate overheads: 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 spending on 'backcountry huts', not including capital, great walk huts or corporate overheads: ye June 2011: $4,318,000 ye June 2012: $4,628,000 ye June 2013: $3,804,000 ye June 2014: $3,721,000 DOC's revenue for Great Walks**: ye June 2009: $3,900,000 .... ye June 2013: $4,806,000 ye June 2014: $5,293,000
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Forum Visiting New Zealand
Started by Hugh vN
On 21 April 2015
Replies 69
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