WCC Parking

May 5th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Dave Burgess at the Dom Post reports:

Shops, bars and restaurants have joined in criticising plans to charge for two hours of extra in the evenings and to increase fees to $5 an hour.

The increase would make Wellington’s parking the most expensive in New Zealand and dearer than Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.

The Council is just being greedy. The increase to $5/hr is bad enough, but they also are going to make you pay up to 8 pm, instead of 6 pm.

The association also criticised the two-hour extension of the time the council can impose parking fees. “To me it looks like a money grab … I don’t accept the argument that by having higher parking fees you turn over the parks more quickly. I think by having higher parking fees you run the risk of having all the parks empty,” Mr Albertson said.

After 6 pm, there are generally lots of parks, so it is a nonsense to say they need to extend the fee to turn parks over more quickly.

If somone stood for Mayor in 2013 on a platform of reducing parking fees, I reckon they could do very well.

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44 Responses to “WCC Parking”

  1. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    I’m all for it if it means I can find a parking spot easier, but I predict that overall their parking revenue will drop.

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  2. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    A fundamental plank of the car haters (ie fredom haters) is that car parks are a subsidy to drivers and that if these subsidies were not provided we would all be liberated from cars and use public transport.

    So for them, no charge is too high.

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  3. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Councils throughout the country have the same problem, they don’t understand the concept of cost cutting in lean times like real people have to do. Their answer is increasing (and identifying new) revenue streams. They personally don’t feel any pain and therefore are detached from the whole budgeting concept. It’s nothing new, governments are the same. The problem is you can only squeeze people so far. Any revenue taken there is money that won’t be spent on real econmic activity. Same as all punitive taxes and fines/charges.
    Too much of our economic activity is swallowed by bureaucracy which long ago lost it’s purpose of serving the population. It has become like cancer, which only survives by feeding off the host. We know where that usually finishes up unless the cancer is sorted out.

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  4. alex Masterley (1,438 comments) says:

    It’s part of an evil plot to get everyone onto public transport and bicycles.
    Look what your mayor gets around the town on!

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  5. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    This entire RWC is shaping up like an episode of the Simpsons. And we’re Sprinfield.

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  6. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    I assume that Wellington has off street car park buildings, probably operated by Wilsons or some other private firm. Do they charge beyond 8PM? If so, why are you not also castigating them?

    Car parking is a competetive business, if you do’n't like the price the council charge, park elsewhere. Isn’t that what competition is all about?

    (I bet you would also moan about paying a fee to put tables and chairs on footpaths if you ran a cafe or bar).

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  7. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Jackboot trundle off and get some evidence before you go widly flailing about with more accusations based on assuptions and your universial hostility towards anyone to the right of Comrade Lenin. It makes you look stupid and lazy.

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  8. peterwn (2,933 comments) says:

    Mayor and councillors have free parking slots available all times at Civic Centre, so it does not really affect them personally.

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  9. Arthur Dent (37 comments) says:

    Since you are making assumptions MyNameIsJack, you would probably also have to assume that car parking buildings have higher overheads than maintaining car parks in the street.

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  10. simpleton1 (127 comments) says:

    About time I rode in and parked my trusty steed.
    Would love to see the parking warden put a ticket on him.
    Might just have to train the steed to eat any papers stuck on it.
    For me no worry about registration, wof, road milage tax, petrol tax and all that free parking.
    Maybe some nice city flower bed to refuel on and for some recycling ?

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  11. GL (58 comments) says:

    Albertson, in the quote you have given above, contradicts himself. He says that it is a money grab by the WCC, but also that it will result in no one parking in the city anymore.

    If no one parks in the city after the charge goes up then how will the WCC be making any money?

    The money grab line is always used to try and dodge real discussion and debate. In fact, one of the reasons you raise the price of parking is to try and facilitate people going to the city for retail/dining. Why? because if there is no chance of finding a park in the city then no one will go in.

    The argument should therefore be about whether there is a problem at the moment with a lack of ability to find parks either during the day or between 6pm-8pm. WCC have decided that there is a problem.

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  12. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    MNIJ –
    because us Wellington motorists are already resigned to the fact that both the company you named and their main competitor are both already here, and both are the sort of mercinary b@stards who would welcome a hike in WCC street parking rate as an opportunity for them to raise their own prices for free (i.e. pure profit.)

    (I make this comment as someone who once parked in a half-empty parking building at the Lambton end of town for about an hour, $24… )

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  13. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    I agree with MNIJ on this, mainly because he’s espousing free market values.

    If you can’t afford to park in the city, don’t. Leave a thousand spaces empty all day so I can park right outside my destination for half an hour.

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  14. Sonny Blount (1,829 comments) says:

    The problem is the commercial car park operators have to ask permission from their competitor the WCC, to build car parks and to pay them rates.

    Also the WCC controls where commercial and residential development is allowed to build and therefore controls the density and geographic spread of car parking required.

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  15. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    It’s funny how WCC is anti-malls and anti-freeparking, something malls always provide. Shops are very dependant on free-parking for the quick stop ins to pick stuff up. Paying $5 for the 10 minutes it takes to run into a shop and get something will put people off and drive them to the malls where it is free.

    So what is it going to be Wellington? Parking or the malls?

    I’m not sure how the free market comes into this? Streetside car parks are a monopoly. A business can’t buy the roadside and offer free parking although I’m sure they’d love to. How about offering businesses the ability to lease the car parks outside their premises and then they can offer what ever parking deal they want to offer. Divide the revenue of each carpark in the CBD, have the business owner pay that per carpark and then they can either recoup that money, or offer it as a loss-leader. Could get messy.

    Also, carpark buildings must love it when the streetside parking goes up, means they can put their rates up too. It’s a convenience tax so it’s proportional to the cheapest option.

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  16. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    labrator –

    On the contrary WCC is very keen to see J’ville mall redeveloped into something like the Queensgate or Porirua Malls, they don’t like that most of their ratepayers currently go out of town and do most of their shopping with retailers who pay rates in other cities :-P

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  17. Viking2 (10,703 comments) says:

    well some residents in other cities have figured out the answer to this shit.
    Yep look at Tauranga, Hamilton , Rotorua just to name three. They don’t do business in town anymore.

    All moved elsewhere with their shops and businesses to places where the customer is king and is no longer subject to the socialists (I was going to say Nazi’s but Hone has captured that market), that continue to infest councils because this week kneed Govt. of free enterprise continues to allow non paying ratepayers to vote in to power socialist local body politicians who goal in life is to embellish the trough and spent the RATEPAYERS money.

    Hamilton are running around trying to refill their city with businesses as are Tauranga. Simply destined to fail. Business doesn’t need the councils rorting any longer.

    Leave town guys. Life is much nicer in the suburbs.

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  18. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    Johnsonville [shudder] – I just can’t drive through it quickly enough, so I drive around it whenever possible.

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  19. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    Serves Wellingtonians right for not taking enough care when they cast their vote, I know that very few wanted a communist Green mayor but not enough of those people took enough time to consider their second choice/vote.

    You guys are going to have to be vigilant, the brainless Mayor will keep chipping away at the motorist for the rest of her term, and of course being a dirty Green she will never be honest about her goals and intentions.

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  20. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    V2 – my company has moved from CBD Wellington to Petone. Is mostly good (parking much easier and cheaper) except I now spend 8+ hours a day in Mallard’s electorate [shudder again].

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  21. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Viking –
    In Rotorua all they’ve done is moved out of old shops in the CBD, into new tilt-panel big-barn style shops in what used to be the railway yards, just over the road from the cbd. It’s good business for the (tangata whenua / landlord.)

    Not sure if it supports your hypothesis that it’s all a reaction against socialism though…?

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  22. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Rightnow –
    yes, when the socialists built the motorway, they thoughtfully designed it to completely bypass Johnsonville.

    So there’s one thing you’re grateful to the socialists for, huh? :-P

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  23. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    RRM – yep, the only good socialist is a road-builder. Thanks good socialists

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  24. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    @Owen McShane at 11:24. Exactly..!

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  25. KH (686 comments) says:

    Councils shifted long ago from (a) being there to provide us with shared convenience and services. To (b) where citizens are regarded as revenue producing units for the council.
    So of course they are going to put parking fees up. It’s not for the reason of rationing use and ensuring orderly transport. It’s a revenue.
    The measure of their corruption of the original purpose can be measured by the standards of comfort they provide themselves. Compared with ratepayers councils workers (and councillors) have higher wages. Better working conditions and contracts. More security and higher reduncancy when required.
    And certainnly more comfort.
    I have been hearing of the great Auckland City staff cafateria. Close to all the food outlets of Queen street we provide ‘our servants’ with subsidised food and comfort. Why.
    Who’s the servant ?

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  26. Batman (97 comments) says:

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!! it is bad enough having to pay till 8pm on thursdays and fridays!

    the council are simply showing their hand as money grubbing pests. they are using parking to ull in MILLIONS in revenue, in order to fund wishy washy art projects; while they cannot even manage a decent rubbish collection system!

    VERY tempted to run for council in 2013 on a platform of essential services and $3/hour parking from 8-6pm mon-friday. free parking with a two hour limit at all other times. and also clamping down on the ridiculous secret police organization that is ‘parkwise’, otherwise known as the parking nazis

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  27. Batman (97 comments) says:

    Oh and RRM, you parked in the Waring-Taylor St Wilsons carpark? Yeah that is THE MOST expensive carpark in the world, i’m pretty sure it would be cheaper to to pay to park on the front lawn of the White House and then fly back to Wellington to do your shopping.

    parked their once for a couple of hours while attending a graduation parade and had some lunch on the waterfront….. came back to find out that it was a $45 bill….. fuck a duck.

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  28. Dismal Soyanz (58 comments) says:

    I have no major gripe about charging for parking per se but WCC should be upfront about why they are extending the hours until 8 pm.

    As David noted, it’s not about reducing demand to enable greater turnover of parks. I drive around Wellington pretty much everyday after 6 pm during the week and although there are times when there are no parks, generally I can find a streetside parking within 1 minute walking time from where I want to go. Some places are regularly in higher demand (Courtenay Place) but again Blair and Allen Streets often have plenty of spaces.

    Quote from DomPost: Council infrastructure director Stavros Michael said the plans were in line with the “long-held parking policy principle – to encourage vehicle turnover which assists economic activity”.

    I can buy the argument for the 2 hour limit during the weekend (more so Saturday than Sunday) but the case for extending weeknight hours has not been made. As most retail businesses are closed then, the key activity after 6pm would be entertainment (bars, restaurants), parking for which would display a very low degree of elasticity.

    So if there is no evidence of congestion post 6 pm Mon-Thu (and note that the WCC have not made their parking surveys public – something they should have done), the question is why are they extending the chargeable hours? It’s pretty hard to get away from believing that there are only two possible reasons:

    1) It’s a money grab; and/or
    2) It’s designed to deter people from driving into the city in the evening.

    Either of which could be expected from any city council but I had hoped the WCC would have been more honest about it.

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  29. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    Can any Aucklanders confirm inner city parking costs (by which I mean parking on the street)? I believe it was $10/hour a few years ago?

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  30. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    Rightnow, as an ex-Aucklander the only time I can recall paying $10 for an hour’s parking on the street was the many times I received a parking ticket ! Don’t know what it is now though.

    One reason the suburban malls are so popular is that parking is provided and is (nominally) free.

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  31. Centreback (14 comments) says:

    If you are patient there is no problem with parking in Wellington, parking turnover will change very little, haircuts will still take 30 min, walking to champions of the world and buying that elusive super rugby jeresey will still take the same amount of time. Im glad people are waking up to Wade-Brown. If anybody was out of her league, its this wannabe

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  32. annie (533 comments) says:

    When they put parking up to $4/hr I stopped shopping in central Wellington. Lower Hutt and Porirua have free parking and most of the shops and services I need, the rest I can usually get online. Added benefit – no more window shopping or meeting people socially in the city, so much less money spent.

    When I do go in to Wellington – about 8 times a year – I stay for the minimum length of time.

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  33. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Look, no-one likes paying high parking fees. I especially hate the airport charges in Wgtn/Auckland (in Nelson, it costs 60c).

    But I also hate looking for a park and not being able to find one! This is the blog that espouses “artificial pricecaps create scarcity” for every other item. No-one is forcing me to park in a certain place. I can park elsewhere and walk. I can get a lift or catch a bus. It depends how much I value that park.

    I agree that expensive parks are probably part of the reason people go to malls (that and dry clean environments, free of homeless people), but the council can worry about that if it finds city business is stalling. Until then, they can charge whatever people are willing to pay – that’s what I’d do if I was running a business!

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  34. Dismal Soyanz (58 comments) says:

    @tristanb

    Indeed. And that is exactly why they made weekend parking free (up to two hours). As a result, Wellington CBD businesses now do a significant amount of trade during the weekend.

    Pricing of car parks is a legitimate way of allocating a scarce resource. I don’t think anyone seriously denies the wisdom of having some form of charge for parking. But where exactly is the optimal pricing? WCC have gone on record as saying they want (IIRC) 15% unused parking at any one point in time. The questions are: Have they established that this is consistent with $5 per hour? and How does the extension of chargeable hours fit with this?

    On the former, their surveys may well suggest that the utilisation rate is greater than 85% and so an increase may be justified on that ground. I have not seen any answer to the latter question though.

    From observation of the Queen’s wharf carpark run by the WCC, I doubt whether much thought has gone into the pricing from an economics perspective. Next door is Carepark. Last year Carepark charged $10 per day, WCC $12. Both parks were well patronised. Unsurprisingly, Carepark filled up first. Carepark put up their price to $11 per day, the WCC followed quickly but went up to $14 per day. As a result patronage of the WCC spaces dropped quite noticeably and it is quite common to find a lot of empty spaces in the WCC park even after 9 am. If I was attempting to maximise revenue as WCC, I would drop the price back down to $12 or $13. The fact that they haven’t suggests to me that the motivation is more about deterring car usage than revenue. This would be consistent with extending the chargeable hours for street parking.

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  35. nasska (9,489 comments) says:

    ….”they can charge whatever people are willing to pay – that’s what I’d do if I was running a business!”….

    Good & well if you are running a business but it’s worth pointing out that the WCC is not a business, nor does it act like one. It is a council there to serve & coordinate with legislated powers to rate property to fund it’s activities. Rather than sticking to its roll it has morphed into a political body pushing a half baked Green agenda.

    Evidently the lesson of Labour’s Dear Leader of “bend over & get to enjoy it as we know best” has not sunk in.

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  36. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    @RRM I’m not sure what news you’ve read on the J’Ville mall but it’s been stalled forever, most recently because of the council.
    Dompost Sept ’10: Johnsonville mall in limbo

    Doesn’t matter what city I’m in, if it’s got a mall I’ll use it. Auckland & Wellington don’t offer anything I need for the price of their parking. If they were serious in what they were saying about trying to keep car parks available, they should really charge for the carparks at the top of Mt Eden and Mt Victoria.

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  37. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    FUCK. RIGHT. OFF.

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  38. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    labrator –

    No I hadn’t seen that. Curious article, they say the project has resource consent and also that WCC has “stalled” the project – you’d think it would be one or the other?

    They should totally do it. It’s like finding a secure site for toxic waste, you find some place utterly horrible, with no redeeming features whatsoever, and then you dig your big concrete bunker in there and dump all your toxic nastiness in the one place.

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  39. Viking2 (10,703 comments) says:

    RRM (3,406) Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Viking –
    In Rotorua all they’ve done is moved out of old shops in the CBD, into new tilt-panel big-barn style shops in what used to be the railway yards, just over the road from the cbd. It’s good business for the (tangata whenua / landlord.)

    Not sure if it supports your hypothesis that it’s all a reaction against socialism though…?

    Well RRM. Never met a socialist who put the customer first, second , third or anywhere else near the top. Only ever at the bottom.
    The Landlords in Rotorua are clearly capitalists and have provided for their customers customers with plenty of space, nice shopping and free car parks that are easy to access.
    The Rotorua CC council on the other hand have just completed a huge extension to their socialist principles of empire building and of course now have to charge the RATEPAYERS (note. citizens that use council services are not all ratepayers) more to pay for the monument.
    Of course they get away with that by using the socialist principle of forcing the landowner to pay for all the things he doesn’t use and other non ratepayers do by allowing non rate paying residents the vote to vote in their favourite money wasters.

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  40. Dangermouse (6 comments) says:

    Wasn’t reducing parking fees John Bishop’s platform? He couldn’t get elected to council.

    I think if a mayoral candidate stood on that platform it would rightly be regarded as a cynical stunt.

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  41. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    @RRM I know, I can’t quite get to the bottom of it. I assume the developers don’t want to fork up millions if they’re suddenly going head to head with the WCC and their bottomless pit of ratepayers money. I guess Queensgate and Porirua are far enough away to not be affected in the same way. A bit like Auckland’s 1965 motorway plan, it may happen eventually…

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  42. SPC (4,634 comments) says:

    Is the reaction to the $1 increase in fee (after no rise in the past 7 years) a poll on whether people really do feel better off after last years tax cuts?

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  43. Anthony (736 comments) says:

    Why don’t they start charging for parking on the weekend at a lower rate. You can never get a park on the weekend because the parks are free!

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  44. swan (651 comments) says:

    I love it how this blog goes all socialist once the word ”car” is mentioned. Its like werewolves and a full moon or something.

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