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Tumbleweeds in central city as free-parkers stage protest

The central city was a dead zone on the weekend, as thousands of motorists spat with venom on the first weekend of Wellington City Council’s imposition of paid parking charges for places on weekends, which has been widely reviled with 600 complaints.

By Mark Cubey

The weekend dissolved into chaos early on as motorists who had never paid for a central city weekend parking space in their lives (well, since 1996) were spotted looking bewilderedly at parking meters or tickets, trying to hide their small change from eager Wellington Free Ambulance charity collectors in onesies, or waving EFTPOS cards at parking terminals while chanting hopeful mantras of “PayWave” or “Snapper”.

Outraged free-weekend-parking addicts who swore “never again” to the central city on weekends kept their cash in pockets, purses or those ashtrays in cars that everyone now uses for small change, as they clogged motorways heading to the promised lands of malls and free parking in the Hutt Valley and Porirua in order to avoid the outrageous central city cost parking cost of $2.50 per hour.

Some who had chanced to luck ran out of fuel, and were observed flagging down passing motorists and asking, “Got any 91?” or, “Can I bludge on your AA membership, my brother?”.

Back in central Wellington, gangs of scumbags who have been ripping off disabled parking passes and selling them on to equally abhorrent miscreants, were observed circling Harris Street with blatant lack of concern for the proximity of the Central Police Station, and offering “deals” to disgruntled drivers hopeful of finding a free parking space under the Central Library.

In the real world, the move seemed to have had the desired effect, with comments like this on Twitter:

Another social media user, @esiobhan_ offered revenue advice for the WCC, musing that if Wellington parking wardens were actually money hungry they’d go to Emmett Street in Newtown on Saturdays “and watch everyone use the resident-zone parking”.