It appears NZ is going the path of Australia and introducing fees upon entry to national parks. There are a number of issues:
1. Fees for what? The problem with such fees is that there should be some service attached to the fee. They should not be for general revenue raising; not to fund wildlife studies, but for the improvement in services that park users want, i.e. Toilets, information centres, walking trails. I frankly think NZ has under-invested in walking trails. I have driven around NZ several times, and you seldom find a walking trail, they are always poorly marked, so you inevitably get lost, wondering whether the trail is the 4WD track. I got lost in Mt Cook glacial walk because what I thought was a side-track to a pond never actually rejoined the trail. Not lost in the sense of dangerously disorientated; but mislead. It should not have happened.
2. Fees for whom? The idea of only charging foreigners is ridiculous. NZ'ers use these facilities as well; charge NZ'ers and keep the fees lower.
3. Fees for extortion: I personally think NZ is already charging excessive fees in some areas, i.e. the fee charged at Rotorua's hot springs is unreasonably high; and I'm inclined to believe its extortion by the local Maori communities who tap into this revenue stream, and probably do no work to maintain it. i.e. Just relying on Pakehe contractors to do everything...and live it up on the cashflow. I have no idea; just suspicious, as this type of jibe is not new to the world. Its the same with Uluru in central Australia. They apparently 'own' Ayers Rock because they saw it first, turned in into a mystical symbol. We really have to stop granting property rights to people who see things first.
Clearly some national parks justify fees; others don't. The greater the attraction; the greater the prospect of having visitors and them being prepared to pay fees....but please, do anyway with the idea of extorting wealth from people; it just stops people from doing anything. I've still not been to Rotorua. I refuse to pay $130 for a family to see a natural phenomenon; knowing that there are bus loads of tourists. They are not spending millions on maintenance and salaries each week...they are doing it because they can.
You can argue that its Maori property (or public Crown land), but I would argue they did not see the value; they had no notion of property rights, and they certainly did not 'earn it', and don't deserve it merely by being empowered by liberals to extort wealth. They can't even find good use for the money.