theres various ways they could be allowed to recover the money
i'm guessing it could be any of the following.
the difference between discrimination between doc and hospitals might lie in the fact that doc is charging for a commercial recreational activity, the hospitals are charging for a public service? or there might have been an exception in the law allowing recovery of medical expenses specifically since there was so much money that could be recovered...
or free medical service by law might only be allowed for permanent citizens?
Sounds like a question for a lawyer.
A small correction to what I said earlier: the BORA doesn't presently trump other acts of parliament in New Zealand. One of the early intents was that it'd be like a constitution, but this was dumbed down at the time. So parliament can make laws that contradict it and they'd typically stand, but they can't do it without being formally and publicly told, and supposedly it should be treated very seriously if and when it occurs. (And as I mentioned, I think our current government has been formally notified once or twice over the last year, and duly ignored it.)
In January, @pmcke wrote: "DOC did investigate the idea of having differential charging for tourists as opposed to locals but the legal opinion is that it would have been a breach of the Bill of Rights."
This one annoyed me, so I actually sent an OIA request to DOC to ask for info about it.
I asked about "information which the Department holds regarding decisions on differential charging (or lack of it) between tourists and New Zealand citizens and/or residents for staying in back-country huts", and it's just today been refused on the grounds that the information doesn't exist because "no decision has been made".
They were 10 working days late in responding to me on this, which annoys me further, so now I'm asking for clarification if it was only refused because I used the word 'decisions' in my query, or if it was refused because DoC has actually never received advice on the matter, which I find hard to believe. I *would* believe that DoC has a crappy record keeping system and so (illegally) doesn't have a clue what advice it has and hasn't received.
(Shrug. Around in circles.) Anyway, I've been requesting it through fyi.org.nz so you can see the request and response at http://fyi.org.nz/...bout_differential_h
If I'm told it doesn't exist because I included the word 'decisions', I'm going to submit a revised question.
Mike: This information came from a casual remark made by a DOC officer at, I think, on the floor of an FMC AGM. Now I can see why government officials are sometimes reluctant to say things :-)
But I might suggest, that seeming you are taking this one further, you might be able to find reference to it in the minutes of past FMC AGMs. It was sometime 5-10 years ago. I am sure those minutes will be available to members of affiliated clubs
Hi @pmcke and thanks for the extra pointers and I'll take a look as soon as I have time. Sorry if I caught you unawares. I'm really keen to know regardless, because to me it still seems likely that DoC might have received advice in the past, which certainly *should* have been properly filed if it was received, even if nobody's gone looking for it just yet.
I'll see what comes of my follow-up questions, anyway. It's just a shame it was 2 weeks late and the response then seems more as a technical evasion than an attempt to answer the question.
I've worked in OIA related roles in NZ government in the past, and I'm not personally fussed about asking something of DoC, as I figure transparency is part of what I've been paying for all these years. It's also absolutely nothing compared with some of the ludicrous fishing expeditions some journalists go to in the hope of randomly stumbling on a story. I can appreciate people are sometimes thrown in the deep end, but I don't have much sympathy for departments as a whole that have bad record keeping systems or otherwise break the law because for some reason keeping records and being transparent is deemed expendable. Hopefully that's not what's happening here.
Thanks again for the pointers. To me, the 2000 AGM seems the most likely candidate.
Its AGM minutes refer to questions and concerns raised about the Annual Report regarding "the relationship between New Zealanders and overseas tourists; and ways of more contribution from overseas visitors towards the Conservation Estate". So I checked the 2000 Annual Report from http://www.mediafi...fr5km#m1a1bs68a12bf and there's a short (half page) discussion about hut fees, but nothing specific about international visitors. So, probably, someone just raised the question from the floor and it was answered but not specifically minuted.
The 2001 Annual Report is also interesting. The top of page 10 states that in December 2000, DoC produced a discussion paper on a review of hut charges. There's no specific mention of any reference to differential charging, but I might ask if someone can check it out if I have further correspondence.
The issue is mentioned in the report of the Tourism workshop of the 1997 AGM. That was the first AGM I attended. Good god! I didn't realise it was so long ago!!
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