RUAPEHU MOUNTAIN CLUBS ASSOCIATION (INC.)
Address: 6 Harvest Court,
Secretary Treasurer: John Rockell
Phone 04 902 4415
Fax 04 902 4413
28 June, 1998
NEWSLETTER 18 – July, 1999 Donald Ross Campbell It is with regret that I have to advise member clubs that RMCA President Ross Campbell died on 14 May at the Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington from cancer and other complications. His decline in health was rapid as he had been skiing in Canada just two months earlier. Ross was elected to RMCA’s Council at the annual general meeting of March, 1994 and in October 1996, became President of RMCA following the retirement of Brian Anderson from the position. In 1998 his was the only nomination and he was declared President for a further two years. Ross was nominated for the Council and President positions by Ruapehu Ski Club of which he had been an active member for many years. He had been on the RSC Committee since 1976 and since the 1980s had been involved in discussions with Tongariro National Park management and with Department of Conservation on general park administration that affected clubs. In June,1998 he was elected President of RSC. Ross’ negotiating skills were invaluable to RMCA in the prolonged saga of producing a hut site licence agreement and in the first three-yearly review of rentals acceptable to clubs. Latterly he was involved with the proposed sewerage scheme for Whakapapa and Iwikau. RMCA owes him a debt of gratitude for his achievements for mountain clubs. The Council extends its sympathy to his wife, Kenwyn and his daughters Nicole and Rachael in their sad loss. Bill Chrystall. Executive Changes Ross Campbell’s sudden decline and hospitalisation prevented him from attending the RMCA Council meeting of 9 May. Even though he was much weakened he was still much concerned with Association activities and made phone contact during the meeting. In his absence, it was resolved that Brian Anderson, the Immediate Past President should chair the meeting. One of his first actions was to note that a Vice-President had not been appointed. This had not been a problem previously as Ross had always been present. Council then appointed Bill Chrystall as its Vice-President. Following Ross’ death Councillors have resolved that W.D. (Bill) Chrystall be co-opted and appointed President to serve until the next election of an Executive Council and that David Castle be appointed Vice President.
Sewerage Proposals • In 1993 the Department of Conservation, as a result of concerns being expressed about the quality of sewage discharge on the mountain and the requirements of the Resource Management Act, produced a discussion paper of options to deal with the problem of effluent disposal at the Whakapapa and Iwikau villages. Following consultation and submissions from interested parties including the ski and tramping clubs, there was widespread agreement with the Department’s preferred position of piping the effluent to a treatment site outside the National Park. At the time, all clubs agreed in principle with the proposals, although there were two notable objections from individuals. A working group representing the end users was formed and steps taken to form a company to undertake the project, Whakapapa Utilities Limited. In 1995 the Ruapehu District Council offered to take over the project. At that time there were two important issues confronting Whakapapa Utilities Limited that it was thought the Council could overcome: a) Council could Rate the users and therefore enforce payment. b) Council could borrow the necessary funds to construct the scheme and provide the lenders with security for the loan. At the time this was taking place, the club licence negotiations had not been completed. The council commissioned engineers to design the scheme and proceed with the applications for the various Consents required under the Resource Management Act. As a result of “strong and valid” objections lodged by Mountain Air and Land Corp the Council recommended relocating the site from adjacent to the Whakapapanui River to the Council’s old landfill site closer to the National Park township. During this period the mountain erupted for two consecutive years and the project management team agreed it would be a good idea to wait for it to quieten down before committing further significant expense. The Council however, did proceed to apply for resource consents for the “landfill site” and once again found it had a strong and potentially valid objection raised by the residents of Raurimu. The residents’ objection was based on the fact that the headwaters of the stream from which their town water supply came was adjacent to the proposed sewage ponds. Then (in 1998) the Council decided it could not afford to borrow the monies to build the scheme and effectively cancelled their involvement in it. The Council is currently sending an account to the Department of Conservation for about half a million dollars, being the costs it has incurred to date, and expects the Department to recover these costs from the clubs, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts etc. The clubs representatives on the Project Management Group have asked the Department not to send accounts at this time as we are not clear that all of the amount is due. There is little doubt that a significant portion of the amount is properly expended against the project and will be re-usable by any other entity that picks up the management in the future. Current Situation The Department of Conservation has recently put considerable time and resources into endeavouring to progress the scheme. The principles have not changed although it has been pointed out to the Department by all the end users that the scheme proposals were too expensive and had increased somewhat from the original estimates – the Department acknowledge this. The end users – the clubs, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, Chateau and Skotel all continue to acknowledge the aims of the scheme, namely: it is offensive to have effluent disposed on the mountain (it is a World Heritage Park);
• research shows that the current methods of disposal are putting nutrients into waterways that were once completely nutrient free and, as a result had unique fauna and flora. The Department has taken steps to obtain a financing mechanism outside the Ruapehu District Council. As all of the end users now have licenses with the Department that require they join a reticulated scheme (when built) the Department has the mechanism to force payment of construction and operational charges. The Department is currently undertaking consultation with all interested parties concerning the feasibility of enlarging and enhancing the existing sewage treatment facilities adjacent to the Chateau. The sole aim of this is to reduce costs. Estimates show such a move would reduce the costs of the scheme by approximately one million dollars. The Chateau disposal site is part of the Whakapapa Village designated “utility area” and as such is an acceptable use even though it is inside the park; the significant factor is that the site is off the Mountain. If everyone agreed to these proposals, it is considered the earliest that construction could take place is the summer of 2001. The Department and Project Management Group continue to work away at the above issues. Proper treatment and disposal of liquid and solid waste is a vital ingredient in our long term occupation and use of the ski field. If any club requires additional information or to discuss the issues more deeply they are welcome to contact the RMCA representatives on the Project Management Group. Brian Anderson Ph (09) 486 1155 Business (09) 410 9189 Private Alan Thompson (06) 876 6603 Business (06) 877 8616 Home. Hut Site Rent Review In March, Department of Conservation wrote to clubs reminding them that in accordance with their licence agreements a rent review (the second review) was due on 30 June. However, the department believes that the rentals set in 1996 remain a fair reflection of market rentals taking into account the bad winter seasons in recent years. DoC concluded that it would not be seeking a change to the rental set in 1996. Before he died, Ross Campbell had contacted Brett Smithies who had acted for RMCA in the early rental negotiations and for DoC in the 1996 review. He is not now acting for DoC. Smithies’ view was that if the increase in CPI from 1996 were used there could be an increase in rent of 4 –5%. In the circumstances he thought DoC’s proposal to maintain the rental was reasonable. Council discussed the subject at its last meeting . It noted that the basis for the 1993 rental was the value of a hypothetical Ohakune site. The value would have increased 30-40% by 1996 but the 1996 review finally was based on the increase in CPI. It is possible that a decrease in values between 1996 and 1999 could be argued but the cost of arguing on this basis would probably exceed any gain. Clubs are advised that Council considers DoC’s proposal is acceptable.
Employee or Contractor With recent changes to Accident Insurance and to Tax law with stiffer penalties for non compliance, clubs need to consider or check the position of their Club administrators, Cooks or Wardens. Are they employees or self employed contractors. RMCA’s council members are aware of anecdotal evidence that clubs have a variety of ways of how to tax or not tax their administrators, cooks and wardens. They can be either employees or self employed. It they are employees their income should have PAYE deducted from it, the club may be liable for Fringe Benefit Tax if benefits are provided, and the employee may be liable in the case of cooks and wardens for tax on the value of their accommodation. The club would be responsible for arranging workers compensation insurance. If they are self employed they would receive their gross contract income and ideally there should be a signed contract for service between the club and the contractor confirming that income tax responsibility is with the contractor. In the case of custodians and cooks it is not correct to deduct withholding tax from their payments – they do not come within the withholding payments regulations. Club administrators however, if they receive an honorarium which has no reference to the hours worked or duties performed, could be subject to the withholding tax regulations and they would also be considered to be self employed and would be liable for their own accident compensation. If the person is an employee, the club must pay holiday pay, and if they work on a statutory holiday negotiate how they are paid for this. So how do we decide who is an employee and who is self employed? It is not entirely black and white and is the cause of some debate with the Inland Revenue Department. The general rules suggested by the Inland Revenue Department are as follows: • If the club controls how and when a persons work is done the person is an employee. Other criteria are: • Does the person have to do the work, rather than being able to have someone to help? • Can the club tell the worker what to do on the job, and when and how to do it? • Does the person get paid at a set rate, such as hourly, weekly, or monthly? • Can the worker get overtime or penal rates? • Does the person work set hours, or a given number of hours each week or month? • Does the person work at your premises, or at a place that you specify? • Do you set the standards for the amount and quality of the persons work? • Can the custodian / cook incur expenditure on behalf of the club without the express consent of the club committee? • Does the person undertake any real business risk? If clubs purchase a season pass for hut wardens they should take care to ensure they understand the position with respect to Fringe Benefit Tax – although the club itself may be exempt from Income Tax, the club still must adhere to the rules relating to the employment of staff.
Clubs should be clear that it is illegal to treat a true employee as self employed to avoid deducting tax – if you do this you may be prosecuted and fined, as well as having to pay the amount of PAYE that should have been deducted. DISCLAIMER: The above information has been provided as a general guide to clubs. It is recommended you consult your professional advisers for advice on your particular circumstances. The Ruapehu Mountain Clubs Association accepts no liability for any losses suffered directly or indirectly by clubs or any other person relying on this newsletter. Annual General Meeting The Annual General Meeting of RMCA is set down for Saturday, 9 October. In the past, the AGM and the meeting with DoC and RAL staff, followed by a dinner at Lorenz’ have been reckoned as very successful and helpful in securing a good relationship with the clubs and organisations which use Ruapehu. So arrangements will again be similar to those for last year with the meeting beginning in the Happy Valley Bistro at 4:00 p.m. Warren Furner of DoC is arranging to have DoC staff join with the clubs and RAL at 6:00 p.m. for another wide ranging discussion and this will be followed by a dinner for those attending. A formal notice and agenda will be sent to member clubs later. In the meantime, don’t forget to put these meetings in your diary. The subject matter will be of great importance to clubs and your club should be represented, preferably by two members. New Contacts Has your club had an AGM recently? Or have there been changes to your Committee or members appointed or coopted for club duties? If so, please give some thought to letting RMCA know. There are times when it can be helpful to have contact information available. It would be helpful to RMCA to have phone numbers (day and evening) and fax and cellphone and e-mail if these are available for such people as President, Secretary and Treasurer or Administrator. The same information for those to be contacted in relation to sewerage negotiations, lodge management &/or bookings, lodge inspections would be helpful. Last October I told clubs of my shift to Paraparaumu and gave new phone numbers. I have now changed to Saturn for my telephone. The new address and numbers for phone, fax and e-mail are at the beginning of this newsletter. Kind regards John Rockell Secretary Treasurer.