FMC recently submitted in support of the proposal to grant the NZDA a concession to manage both the Mid-Greenstone and Upper Caples Huts. Read our submission here: 20151021 Mid Caples Submission
It would be fair to say this submission was made through gritted teeth, largely because the proposal involves locked huts in the backcountry, which is antithetical to backcountry culture. The huts were subject to a review by DOC, which was considering removing them, believing them to be surplus to requirements. NZDA stepped forward to manage them after a public process. It was never agreed that the huts were indeed surplus to requirements as far as outdoor recreationalists were concerned, in fact Upper Caples especially is a key hut at the cornerstone of many tramping opportunities. It seems the decision-making is driven less by maintenance costs than about the fear of losing revenue from the surrounding wardened huts.
FMC as well as questioning the proposed term, has sought reassurance that the locking of these huts is an isolated case, which will only be repeated in rare circumstances. In the meantime these huts are in good hands, with the stewardship of the NZDA, and are available for booking here: http://southernlakesnzda.org.nz/huts/