new DOC system for access and or charges

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new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Tue 09 Feb, 2016 5:24 pm

to be announced in April
director general of DOC announced in a magazine article due to increasing pressure on DOC infrastructure, DOC will announce a new system that may affect pricing for overseas visitors accessing DOC infrastructure.
NZers are having to compete with increasing no's of foreigners to the DOC estate, a lot of these people arent paying hut fees and those under 18 have to pay nothing
school groups from abroad are targeting NZ tramping huts for a cheap trip....
theres no hint as to what the changes may be
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Wed 10 Feb, 2016 4:43 pm

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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby roysta » Tue 16 Feb, 2016 1:30 pm

What are your thoughts on the matter Wayne?


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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Tue 16 Feb, 2016 1:53 pm

NZ's being swamped by foreigners, over three million tourists a year and climbing, we have a small population and the foreigners get the benefit of the DOC infrastructure that is largely provided by the tax payers, DOC are being starved of funds, the system cant cope , a lot of bushwalkers stay in the huts and don't pay the fees and when theres no hut warden around and brag about it, including some Te Araroa walkers.
the southern abel tasman track is the worlds biggest toilet... mt taranaki and the tongariro crossing are going the same way, 250.000 people on the abel tasman, 100,000 on the tongariro crossing, numbers are climbing fast. youth groups from overseas are paying nothing for the great walks because they are free for under eighteen year olds, and thats not mentioning the freedom campers who leave messes that have to be cleaned up as well.
free gas in the great walks huts gets abused by day walkers and campers, massive volumes of sewerage have to be removed from various track toilets. etc etc...
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby JohnStrider » Wed 17 Feb, 2016 1:14 pm

Interesting turn of events.

The only myself and Keithy used, and paid for, in NZ was the Waihaha Hut; located in the Pureora Forest in the NI. Keith and a few others in our group spoke with someone from Tokaanu a few days later who mentioned that the fee we had spent on our two nights was almost certainly not being used by DOc for maintenance.

However, this is just one person's opinion, but definitely an interesting comment made by someone who knew the area in question quite well.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Wed 17 Feb, 2016 1:21 pm

at one stage doc were removing as many huts as they could, they were looking at taking out half of the huts in the ruahines where they get a lot of use. a lot of protest ensued, clubs and groups stepped in to maintain the huts, but they havent all been that keen because they have to sign in depth legal agreements, which details their commitment. as a result hut maintenence has become haphazard.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 12:22 pm

No issue with a review of charges if that's what's needed to control numbers (and no issue with the charges being applied to minors either). I do however get annoyed with the "#$%^ing foreigners" nonsense that gets leveled by some Kiwis though.... not very welcoming. I remember a particular w$%^ker at one of the huts on the Kepler lecturing me that he had to pay $50 for the hut, just like me, but boo hoo he's a local and shouldn't have to pay as much. In a later, separate conversation he was relating his experiences on a trip on the OLT, didn't seem to pick up on the irony. We are a global community are we not?
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 12:27 pm

the huts and tracks are effectively heavily subsidised by the NZ taxpayers... so its a pretty cheap deal for non NZers
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 1:41 pm

When a country starts to divide and discriminate along these lines, it becomes petty and shortsighted, especially for a country that tries to promote international tourism. For the bit of cost to DOC, there's way more revenue to other sectors of the country. It's a macro issue that shouldn't be determined at the micro level. Of course, if NZ decides that tourism isn't in its national interest and is not to be promoted, then the equation changes. No rights or wrongs but it's important to be aware of the big picture.


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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 2:00 pm

the govt arent passing on the revenue from other areas to DOC at all. they cut $50 million out of DOCs budget years ago and havent increased it at all since and there has been conflicting demands from increased need for pest control that have left DOC starved of money. a lot of DOC staff put in a lot of unpaid overtime, literally working from dawn till dusk because the work needs to get done, and often its the only way it will ever get done.
the maintenance of a lot of huts is now done by voluntary organisations now, because doc dont have the resources to maintain them and without that voluntary labour, they would eventually cease to exist.
also the biggest increase of people using the parks are statistically from overseas... the law says you cant charge for access as it turns out, so that may mean increased charges for huts and campsites, possibly for non NZers
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new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 2:18 pm

Perfectly understand the scenario, often repeated by many govts. Ultimately, any adverse perception by international visitors would adversely affect the tourism trade and the govt would shoot their own foot. Maybe a better strategy would be to try to establish DOC's value in the tourism sector and justify additional funding. Discriminatory policies have been tried elsewhere in the world and have rarely achieved their intended objectives in the long run. Usually just good enough to pacify the locals in the short term, that's all.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 2:23 pm

conservation needs to stand seperate from tourism to avoid conflict of interest, its debatable already whether the conservation dept still entirely has conservations best interest at heart everywhere, various tracks re over run with people with rubbish and sewerage around the tracks.
the previous forestry dept used to be responsible for harvesting forests and conserving them, htey used to napalm native forest to plant exotic species...
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby LachlanB » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 3:18 pm

wayno wrote:the govt arent passing on the revenue from other areas to DOC at all. they cut $50 million out of DOCs budget years ago and havent increased it at all since

IMO, this is the problem. If I fly over to NZ for a couple of walks, I'm an extra customer for probably a dozen local businesses; all of which pay tax to the New Zealand Government. It's not like I'm wantonly using NZ's infrastructure without paying for it... If conservation was being properly funded, a user pays system (targeting foreigners or otherwise) would be unnecessary.

Also, how would you collect it? A blanket permit system is easy, but once people are in the parks, how do you tell if they're locals or foreigners? Many systems could end up costing more in enforcement to DOC than it actually collects, especially if collectors and inspectors are required.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby north-north-west » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 3:53 pm

wayno wrote:conservation needs to stand separate from tourism to avoid conflict of interest, its debatable already whether the conservation dept still entirely has conservation's best interest at heart everywhere, various tracks re over run with people with rubbish and sewerage around the tracks.
the previous forestry dept used to be responsible for harvesting forests and conserving them, they used to napalm native forest to plant exotic species...

It seems to be a major trend. Australia is very similar,although I've yet to hear of napalm being used. Not that I'd put it past FT to do so . . .

LachlanB wrote:Also, how would you collect it? A blanket permit system is easy, but once people are in the parks, how do you tell if they're locals or foreigners? Many systems could end up costing more in enforcement to DOC than it actually collects, especially if collectors and inspectors are required.

Parks Pass system similar to Tasmania's, with major discounts (or even free passes) for locals. Not hard to implement and the only checking for field staff is that the people/vehicles carry a pass.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 4:16 pm

wayno wrote:conservation needs to stand seperate from tourism to avoid conflict of interest...

Certainly, tourism and conservation are separate objectives. If conservation is the focus, then restriction on numbers is the obvious priority, just don't discriminate or create special cases, or the conservation argument goes out the window. Revenue or conservation, pick one. Can't have both.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 4:20 pm

i think the govt want to turn the dpt of conservation into a tourist organisation, they've fired a lot of the scientists, they are looking at throwing up a dam by changing the zoning of conservation land which technically they shouldnt be able to do.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 4:30 pm

wayno wrote:i think the govt want to turn the dpt of conservation into a tourist organisation...

No surprise, seen in many countries. Then, it leads to an opportunity for tourism funding. Unfortunately, most conservationists won't sacrifice their principle for money and won't argue from this angle.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 4:38 pm

the govt told DOC they have to engage with business to raise more money to fund their operations.
sponsorship is common now. you're a conservation dept and you're engaging with commercial companies that want something in return, possibly favourable access to the DOC estate.
i got buzzed several times at low level on a major DOC track recently over the course of the day, that never used to happen on that track , DOC know it happens and told me it doesnt affect the quietness of the area, even though the helicopter was flying directly along the track . i was told that it was my responsibility to find somewhere remoter where the helicopters don't fly, otherwise i must put up with them. i had to check the signature twice to make sure the email wasnt written by the helicopter company...
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 5:07 pm

Difficult situation. So the question is, how would you manage DOC given the situation? Where would you give the trade-off? Further, it doesn't sound like complaints to the DOC would be productive nor appropriate, but to go directly to the govt in power.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 5:13 pm

that was their response to my letter directly to the minister of conservation, they just got the local DOC office to respond condescendingly... no one else gives a stuff about it so they can say what they like...

because they had a mast season last year in the beech forests they had to use up this years budget for 1080 to manage the explosion in predator no's to save the birds, now they are having another mast season this year and the coffers are empty

http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/7707 ... ing-crisis
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 5:38 pm

Like everywhere, it's always about the funding. Particularly hard for departments that traditionally have depended on handouts. So much for all the users pay 'theology' out there, forgetting that the plants generates the oxygen we all depend on.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby north-north-west » Fri 26 Feb, 2016 12:15 pm

GPSGuided wrote:
wayno wrote:conservation needs to stand seperate from tourism to avoid conflict of interest...

Certainly, tourism and conservation are separate objectives. If conservation is the focus, then restriction on numbers is the obvious priority, just don't discriminate or create special cases, or the conservation argument goes out the window. Revenue or conservation, pick one. Can't have both.

It's called the Department of Conservation, right? Kind of a giveaway which option they should be focusing on.
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Re: new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby wayno » Fri 26 Feb, 2016 12:20 pm

when the govt cut DOC funding, a lot of their scientists were removed... DOC is a shell of what they once were as regards having an understanding of what is going on on the conservation estate, because the govt are castrating them, making them toothless to stop govt designs on commercial development on DOC land. only a massive protests of 50,000 people and other public outcries stopped the govt from mining in National Parks.. they will still go ahead on other conservation land
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new DOC system for access and or charges

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 26 Feb, 2016 12:58 pm

north-north-west wrote:It's called the Department of Conservation, right? Kind of a giveaway which option they should be focusing on.

Double speak is common amongst govt agencies around the world. The other biggie is the Department of Defence, often busy with war making and supporting private 'defence' contractors and corporations. So wouldn't take that name too seriously.
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