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More privatisation by stealth

Written By: - Date published: 10:06 am, January 16th, 2011 - 29 comments
Categories: Conservation, privatisation - Tags:

Since it came to office, National has cut the Conservation budget in real terms by 2% and the cuts are going to get deeper. Now, we learn that DoC is looking at contracting out camping areas on the conservation estate to be run for a profit. Coincidence? I think not. It’s privatisation by stealth.

One of the wonderful things about New Zealand is that you can go to some of the most beautiful, isolated areas on earth – land that you have access to by right not permit – and stay for only the pittance cost to pay for the simple facilities.

Now, however, DoC’s budget is being squeezed and it knows that National plans to keep on squeezing for years to come. How can DoC fund pest control and wildlife recovery projects with falling income from the Crown? Only by getting more out of the Kiwis and tourists who stay on DoC land.

I don’t just object to the price increase. I fear what contracting out camping areas to private businesses will lead to. Private businesses will want to attract high-profit visitors – not multitudes paying a handful of dollars a night but the well-to-do who will pay much more. So, they’ll want to install bigger, more luxurious facilities and better access. The danger is that the cost will shut out ordinary Kiwis and private companies will ruin the unkempt beauty by building up to attract a ‘better class’ of holiday-maker.

The conservation estate belongs to us and to future generations. Kiwis fought tooth and nail to prevent National’s plan to have it mined. Now, it looks like National’s budget cuts are forcing us into another fight to stop privatisation and keep our right to visit our most precious spots.

29 comments on “More privatisation by stealth ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    There will be all the usual excuses and evasions trotted out for this. Read it in conjuction with this piece of elitist drivel from Deborah Coddington … and you get an ugly picture.

    I’ve said it before, the mentality of these people is barely removed from the slave-owning elites of the Roman Empire. Their rights and privileges were paramount, nothing else mattered.

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    Then again- if you get it for free- you will never value it. Personally I’d be happy to pay some money so that these camp sites are well run and kept clean.

    • KJT 2.1

      You do pay a reasonable amount of money, but it is cheap enough not to be beyound the reach of most people.
      NACT will leave no stone upturned in the drive to further privatise our commons.

      Already roadside camping was banned in most parts of the country in public land at the behast of private motor camp owners. Never mind that, at the time, we did not have the problem of well heeled motor home campers leaving a mess.

  3. Pepeketua 3

    It’s worse than that. Check out the ‘conservation’ Minister’s priorities for the Statement of Intent last year…

    The Minister’s priorities for DOC during 2010–2011 include:


    * Establishing a commercial business unit to improve DOC’s ability to deliver positive commercial outcomes, including building productive business partnerships that deliver conservation gains, increasing net revenue flows to DOC, and enabling business opportunities consistent with conservation to raise New Zealand’s prosperity.

    * Continuing development of cycleways. The Central North Island Rail Trail (Pureora Forest Park) and the Mangapurua–Kaiwhakauka (Whanganui National Park) are both due for completion by mid-2011. Two other cycleways—the Ohakune Old Coach Road (Tongariro National Park) and the St James (North Canterbury)—should be completed early in 2010–2011.

    * Continuing work with the tourism industry to identify up to 25 areas where there is sufficient demand or potential demand for the areas to be developed as affordable camping sites.

    * Advancing the proposal for a Kauri National Park in Waipoua and surrounding kauri forests in Northland, towards a 2011 opening.

    * Working with the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to implement the Government’s agreement around iwi afforestation for carbon credits.

    * Continuing to identify suitable sites for planting or restoration to earn carbon credits, and implementing public–private carbon farming agreements.

    * Working with the Ministry of Economic Development to identify both mineral prospects and conservation values on public conservation lands, as input into a public consultation process to ensure that conservation values and mineral values on public conservation lands are balanced to give maximum possible benefit to New Zealanders.
    * Working with the Inland Revenue Department to review the application of tax laws for conservation work on private land, to encourage private conservation efforts by removing disincentives to improved land management.
    * Contributing to phase two of reforms to the Resource Management Act by providing options to align concession and resource consent processes where relevant on public conservation lands and waters in accordance with the Government’s wider objectives. 


    Consequently, DOC set up a ‘commercial business unit’ http://www.doc.govt.nz/publications/about-doc/briefing-to-the-new-minister-of-conservation-2010/commercial-business-unit/

    Note absolutely NO reference to any sort of species recovery… the days of the world-class work by the wildlife service are long gone…

    All this for a Department charged with managing roughly a third of the country on our behalf, on about the same budget as the Christchurch City Council… to put it in perspective, while NZ has a relatively young cultural history of only 800 or so years.. we have an incredibly natural heritage, and our kakapo, kiwi, whio and takahe are our Leaning tower of Pisa, L’Arc de Triomphe and Tower of London… i bet that those monuments are significantly resourced – so why does government after government (but particularly this one) continue to treat the Department of Conservation as a poor cousin that they begrudgingly throw a few dollars at? how about investing significantly in protecting our heritage!?!??!

    oh and that’s right, it pays its way… tourism last year, once again outdid the dairy industry for dollars… but what does our Tourism Minister do to protect this asset? I thought he was a business man!

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    New Zealand was founded on manipulation and trickery to facilitate theft, all of it backed up by violence (as were all the colonies). Nothing has changed in the nature of the people at the top.

    What is different at this stage in the game is that the entire system is in the early stages of imploding. These are the last days of an ’empire’ that was built on cheap fossil fuel energy and financial fraud: now that the cheap fossil fuel energy is disappearing fast and the financial house of cards is collapsing, we must expect those in power to loot the till by whatever means they can think of. And to consistently lie to the geneeral public about the reasons for their actions.

    • johnm 4.1

      Hi afewknowthetruth
      I agree 100%. I am sure if all NZers were asked a large majority would be dead set against further privatization, Yet the ACT-nat show indifference and contempt to these people. I think it’s fraudulent that because you have a lot of wealth the bank will create money out of thin air so you can buy houses to cash in on the capital gain while ordinary hard working wage slaves pay your mortgage,for god’s sake! Enough of these get rich types help to push house prices out of the range of young kiwis starting out in life wanting to have children: they are being ripped off in their own country plus having to pay student loans back:a mortgage even before you get a house: It Stinks!
      We have sold our Country and youth down the road for the free market garbage ideology crap that was voided from the U$. The U$ treats its ordinary people like dog shit:Step out of line you become a profit making unit in a privatized prison. Out of a job? We’ll chuck you pet food called food stamps.Wall Street gets bailed out for trilliions while over a million are evicted from their homes.THAT’S THE FREE MARKET FOLKS!

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Although they often don’t understand the full details of what you are describing johnm, young people get it. Some pack up and leave the country, taking their skills and energy with them. Others simply get depressed and feel left out of society.

        captcha: fails

        • Drakula 4.1.1.1

          Afewknowthetruth, johnm and Viper
          keep up the good work I would like to say more but I think you said it all.

          I have been on Frogblog discussing the issue of Capital Gains Tax I think that the Standard blog would be supportive of it.

          Anyway it’s late so I am turning in for the night from a hard days blogging!!!!

  5. hellonearthis 5

    Some classic spelling errors. Conversation is not the same as Conservation.

    • Jum 5.1

      But, Hellonearthis, they are (captcha) ‘associates’. Without a conversation about conservation we end up with JKeyll who perpetrates on us privatisation and pollution, both p words which are just as poisonous to the system as the Paul Holmes P.

    • Eddie 5.2

      spelling errors on the interwebs? Quick call Bill Gates.

      Nah, I’ll fix ’em for Marty

      captcha: concerning

  6. Jum 6

    When I was camping not so long ago at Doc camps, there was a meeting of all the campers where the subject of introducing more amenities as more of the pseudo camping with the camp kitchen, the camp showers, the camp toilet block crap was reducing with people selling off coastal camps now worth zillions and new owners closing down the camp business. There was a 100% vote NO to any ‘civilizing’ of the Doc camps. Why bother to go camping when you want a home away from home. Nothing was done then. That was Labour listening to campers.

    One these sites are contracted out, the amenities will increase and children will lose the greatest chance these days of experiencing a little bit of adventure – poor little bas-tards. And guess who will be responsible for it – those so-called freedom loving NActMUs bas-turds.

  7. orange whip? 7

    Oh joy, eftpos vending machines at Doc camps so no-one need go without their chippies, coke, chocolate, gossip mags, lotto tickets, chewing gum, and pre-packaged smoked salmon wings.

    Just like camping should be.

    • burt 7.1

      When I was younger we said the same about the introduction of gas cooking facilities into basic back country huts. And the generation before me said the same about there being mattresses. When your grandchildren are enjoying the free wireless internet connections what will we be saying is the ruin of the wilderness ?

      • orange whip? 7.1.1

        We will be saying the ruin of the wilderness is/was people like you who can’t differentiate between a mattress and a McDonalds.

        Just like we’re saying now burt.

        • burt 7.1.1.1

          Oh yeah you are so funny. For sure I can’t tell the difference between a mattress and a McDonalds… Gee I wish I was as funny as you cause then I too could make ridiculous comments when I can’t think of anything to say….

          • orange whip? 7.1.1.1.1

            Scoff all you like but your comment clearly indicated that you do in fact believe that gas cookers & mattresses are not all that different from vending machines & wifi with regard to the appropriateness of their placement in a DoC camp.

            Your tortured logic suggests that if mattresses are acceptable then so is anything else, and that to resist the encroachment of commercialisation, profiteering, and consumer culture into our beautiful natural areas is some kind of hypocritical inconsistency because, after all, we’ve already accepted the mattress.

            Or perhaps that’s not your position at all. Sure looks like it though.

          • burt 7.1.1.1.2

            I think we have already stuffed up a lot of wilderness areas by putting 2m wide gravel tracks and bridges over every creek that might just flood every now and then. You and I appear to be debating what is acceptable ‘modernasition’ and let me guess – the state of it today is just perfect….

            If you are talking about camping grounds rather than tramping huts then I’ll make my point even stronger – If you can drive to the place then you may as well have a shop there….

  8. biran 8

    well i wouldnt pay campground charges for no shower kitchen laundry tv room telephone etc
    at $5.20 they now charge
    i dont think theres much room for increases in fact when comparing services
    doc camps are already too expensive
    noone uses them for 9 months of the year
    if private enterprise think they can improve on the existing business model
    they are deluded

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