Download The Wellington App for more stories like this.

Wellington residents want parking fee hike dialled back

People living on the fringe of Wellington’s CBD are urging the council to dial back a planned parking fee hike.

The City Council is proposing to increase residents’ and coupon parking in inner-city suburbs by more than 50 percent each, taking them to $195 and $120 a year respectively.

While some residents say the increase will make them think twice about using their car, councillors say that is the point.

City councillor Iona Pannett said the fee increase was a necessary step because the money was used for road maintenance, “but also to facilitate a shift towards public transport, walking, and cycling, which is better for the community and better for the environment”.

The councillor with the transport portfolio Chris Calvi-Freeman said if parking fees had not gone up, rates would have.

“It does look quite a hike,” he said, but when broken down by week or day “it’s not a huge amount”.

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

There was a slew of increases planned across Wellington’s parking spectrum with residents, coupon, and metered parking fees all set to go up. https://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/public-inputs/consultations/open/traffic-resolutions—parking-and-fee-changes

In Auckland, residents’ parking costs $70. In Christchurch, it costs $54. Neither city had plans to increase those fees in the near future.

Wellington’s residents have until the eighth of May to make submissions.

Some spoken to by RNZ said the fee increases were too steep, while others pointed out they were privileged to park so close to the central city at such a low price.

Victoria University student Izzy Vekony said Wellington was already an incredibly expensive place to live – her rent was $200 for a room – and this would make it even harder for her to make ends meet.

“I already pay $130 to park outside my house and half the time I’m not even guaranteed a park,” she said. “So I guess I don’t see the need for an increase when half the time I don’t get what I’m paying for.”

Another resident described the residents’ parking situation as “diabolical” because she sometimes had to park on a different street.

Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett says we need to reclaim our streets for children. Photo: RNZ / YouTube

A council spokesperson said there were about 2300 resident parking spaces available across the city, with 4032 residents permits currently issued.

“The purpose of residents parking is to allow residents to park in the vicinity of their residence. The scheme however, does not guarantee residents a park directly outside their property.

“The residents parking scheme allows a single residence to have up to two permits. Multi-unit dwellings are able to access one permit per unit,” the spokesperson said.

There were alternatives to owning your own car, Ms Pannett said, such as car or ride sharing, and public transport.

“Instead of saying we need more parking, we actually need to reclaim our streets for our children, for the environment,” she said.

“I do respect that some people have different needs and they find cars useful, so really it’s up to decision-makers to be able to provide those options. We’re going to have light rail hopefully in the next decade, the bus problems should be resolved, we’re building cycleways.”

RNZ / Michael Cropp