DOC Increases Hut Prices for Taxpaying public

Press release by Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation is  updating accommodation prices for huts, lodges, some campsites, the West Coast’s Paparoa Track, and off-season rates for some Great Walk huts. The new prices will be applied for the 2023/24 booking year, from 1 July 2023.
Cat Wilson, DOC’s Director of Heritage and Visitors, says some recreation facility prices haven’t changed in 15 years and don’t reflect present day costs.
“DOC is operating under increased budget pressures from rising construction and maintenance costs, reduced revenue due to the impacts of COVID-19, and extreme weather events such as Cyclone Gabrielle.
“Visitor charges contribute to recovering the costs of providing DOC’s recreation accommodation, and balances the cost burden between users and taxpayers,” she says. “The fees collected help support investment into recreation facilities to maintain, repair and improve experiences at huts, and campsites, lodges, cottages, and cabins.
Standard hut fees will increase from $5 to $10 and serviced hut fees will move from $15 to $25. This is the first adjustment to hut category fees since 2008.
There will also be price changes for the Paparoa Track this year due to its popularity. Paparoa’s Hut prices will increase to a level similar to other popular Great Walks.
Different fees for international visitors will also be applied to the Paparoa Track during the summer period, which will be at a rate of 1.5 x the domestic hut fees. 
“DOC provides a wide range of experiences to help people connect with the most scenic places in New Zealand. There are choices for all budgets including many free options.
“Short walks, day hikes, multi-day walks, overnight stays, Great Walks – paddling, hiking, biking – the variety of landscapes in such a small country is phenomenal.”

Background information
Most Great Walks bookings open for 2023/24 between 20 April and 16 May and non-Great Walk hut, campsite and sole occupancy bookings open in early May.Cyclone Gabrielle has disrupted facilities in locations such as Hawke’s Bay and Coromandel. The extent of damage and costs are still being assessed, and some places are closed until further notice. People need to check the DOC website for alerts before they go.
SQ Jim Hut.jpeg

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12 Responses to DOC Increases Hut Prices for Taxpaying public

  1. Frank Henry says:

    Back country fishing on public lands and rivers and DOC – public servants – charges us and increases fees. I say arrogant audacity! Damn it I say!

  2. Stewart Hydes says:

    It is unforgivable that our government has unnecessarily contributed so much to inflationary pressure .. and how we all must pay, in oh so many ways.
    If you increase public debt from $57B to $154B (with practically nothing to show for it) .. somebody must pay.
    The reality is .. we will all be paying. Not just us .. but our children and grandchildren.
    In France, they are protesting and setting fires in the streets .. because they have to put up the retirement age, because they can’t afford to keep it where it is.
    We haven’t even gotten to that one yet.

  3. Iconoclast says:

    Actually, I think it is reasonable to up the prices. Nowhere else has hut facilities like we do in NZ and making a small contribution to them for the sake of their longevity is not much to ask.

  4. "Southlander" says:

    Actually I think it is unreasonable on DOC’s part. We pay taxes for DoC to operate.
    We don’t pay to sit on a park bench in the local public park. So we should not have to pay to stay in a hut on our public land.

    • James says:

      We do have to pay for the park bench; it’s just built into your rates (or rent). Also, park benches need very little upkeep.

  5. Grant Henderson says:

    If we are to have fee increases, then those applying to overseas visitors should be much higher – say at least 3 times fees charged to NZers. If they can pay for the airfares to get here, a fee over and above that for hut use is tiny by comparison.

    They should bill foreign tourists for entry to national parks and all great walks too. Our taxes pay for the upkeep of the environment people come to enjoy.
    Yellowstone National Park website says:

    “You are required to pay an entrance fee in order to access Yellowstone National Park. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, national parks keep 80% of all fees collected and use that money to fund critical projects that improve services and protect resources. In Yellowstone, entrance fee revenue provides $8.8 million a year for accessibility improvements, campgrounds, infrastructure, roads, native fish restoration, aquatic invasive species mitigation, and more. Thank you for your support!”

    DoC has always been starved of necessary funds by various governments. That’s why the department started commercialising the public estate.

  6. J B Smith says:

    Notwithstanding DOC’s priorities are often astray. What about the many millions spent to coat the West Coast in 1080? I seem to remember $12 million in 2019.

  7. F. H. says:

    Re “James” comment.
    Rates to local council for park benches, taxes to government to fund DoC. What’s the difference?

  8. F H says:

    Re “James” comment.
    Rates to local council for park benches, taxes to government to fund DoC. What’s the difference?

    • James says:

      Something to consider: Why should all of New Zealand pay for DoC huts/tracks when only a fraction of the population uses them? In other words, isn’t a ‘user pays’ system fairer?

  9. F H says:

    Same with park benches, James. I never use them, not even to sleep under! But I pay rates.
    Then there’s the people in town who don’t own a property so are not ratepayers.
    But they can go sit on a park bench.
    The same applies to huts on public land. Note it is public land. It doesn’t belong to DoC.

    • James says:

      The reality is simple park benches in populated spaces and remote DoC huts (houses) in the backcountry are not comparable things. Pragmatically, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Everybody should not have to pay for everything.

      People who rent pay rates by proxy (to their landlord).

      I drive across public land, but I don’t balk at the idea of paying tax for the roads I travel on.

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