Dom Post on WCC

March 3rd, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Does Wellington City Council think the capital’s residents are stupid?

Once again, the council is proposing increases to parking fees, and once again it is trying to pull the wool over motorists’ eyes by claiming the higher charges are aimed at increasing turnover at parking spaces, not raising revenue.

The claim is simply preposterous. There are already sufficient controls to govern turnover at parking spaces in the city, and in suburban areas as well, in the form of time restrictions. In some cases, limits for free parking can be as little as 10 minutes, while in the city centre, metered parking spaces are restricted to two hours. 

The Council seems to have an infestation of tax (rate/levy/fee) and spend politicians. I think we need a ticket for the next election of candidates who pledge not to increase spending in real terms. Wellington families and businesses can’t afford to fund a Council whose spending keeps increasing faster than not just inflation, but overall economic growth also.

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31 Responses to “Dom Post on WCC”

  1. Viking2 (11,283 comments) says:

    Well not just Wellington.
    Its a socialist disease that infests this country and its politics of envy from the Gov. General to the desk clerks in the local bodies et al.

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

    Council continuing its efforts to kill retail in the city. Given that you can never find a park anywhere near your destination, two hours is usually not enough to walk there, do your shopping, and walk back. Every time an old building gets demolished , private enterprise should build a few floors of underground parking under the new one, at rates and time limits that undercut the council.

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  3. Richard (130 comments) says:

    If Wellington ratepayers insist on constantly reelecting the likes on Stephanie Cook, Bryan Pepperal and the awful Helene Ritchie they are getting the govt they deserve.

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  4. swan (659 comments) says:

    It’s called allowing the market to clear. Why shouldn’t someone be able to park for 8hrs or 8 days if they are willing to pay? And why shouldn’t the council try to get a decent return on prime real estate? Or should councils be running all their assets as a social service? Ports for example?

    Hypocrisy?

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  5. Mark (1,434 comments) says:

    The Great thing about private enterprise is that they leverage off the Council charges and will simply put up their parking prices and so the cycle continues. Wellington is the most parking unfriendly city I have lived in. I simply avoid going into the city for anything other than work now. It is easier to spend my money in Lower Hutt or online rather than having to feed the avaricious beast that is the WCC. Not only are the parking fees ridiculous the parking wardens will ticket you within minutes of the time expiring. There is no grace period whatsoever.

    But this is freedom of choice at work. As the WCC continue to implement policies that make the city less attractive retailers and businesses that rely on people coming in to spend their money will simply do less trade. But will the council give a toss. Unlikely as they wouldn’t understand the concept

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  6. gump (1,553 comments) says:

    The Council competes with other providers of parking in an open market.

    If you think that Council street parking is too expensive or not covenient, use a private parking provider.

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  7. JeffW (324 comments) says:

    You need to be braver David; I am very confident that a prudent person could cut at least 10% from rates, and affect only the things councils through NZ choose to spend money on, rather than the things they need to spend money on.

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  8. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    gump – parking competitors includes the malls at Johnsonville (which the Council is trying to constrain), Porirua and Queensgate.

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  9. alwyn (402 comments) says:

    Someone may be able to confirm this but I was told that the WCC has budgeted $1.5 million for a premiere of The Hobbit.
    I haven’t seen it in any Council document but the person who told me is usually pretty well informed.
    If they are doing this while talking of cutting out rubbish collections they all need sacking.
    The only thing you can say for a premiere is that the councillors can dress up in their finery and occupy the best seats while we pay for it. I guess it makes them feel like Hollywood gliteratti.
    Why can’t they stick to the things we need rather than making ratepayers cough up for their hobbies?

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  10. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Where is the argument? Clearly the parking rates had to increase.

    After all, someone has to pay for the “Wellington – the coolest little capital in the world” billboard above Thorndon Quay that was so desperately needed…

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  11. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    This post typifies the disease that is ailing all of New Zealand. Councils, government departments etc will do everything in their power to relieve the populace of the ever shrinking dollar. There now seems to be a mad rush to accumulate as much cash that can be taken by legal means. Many councils could now be called straight out extortioners happy to charge copious amounts of money for dubious bits of paper, that in 90% of cases are meaningless. Make no mistake the clock is ticking and there is only so much wealth produced by those earning the hard currency of the country. Many of these robber baron councils are actually cutting there own throats. The fools will try to build their own kingdoms by living of the backs of a diminishing pool of the few. And when the cash runs out and the rate payers have taken their business elsewhere these fools will look at each other and wonder where it all went wrong.

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  12. Leaping Jimmy (16,111 comments) says:

    The Council seems to have an infestation of tax (rate/levy/fee) and spend politicians.

    Well duh. Wellington is infested with govt bureaucrats. Most govt bureaucrats are lefties. You simply have to look at the sea of red in Wgtn surrounded by the sea of blue across the rest of the country in the last national election for evidence of that.

    Of course, therefore, they elect local officials who are of that bent. That’s not going to change, ever.

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  13. southtop (263 comments) says:

    Unless this government has the fortitude to significantly change the 2002 Local Govt Act this will continue throughout the country. To give Helen credit they managed to shift socialism to councils and thereby increased taxes on those with land. Check out Sandy Springs in Georgia USA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8qFVo2qJOU

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  14. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Is there any actual evidence that WCC increasing parking charges has damaged commercial activity? Wellington is a really easy city to get around on foot. There is hardly any need to take a car into the CBD. If you don’t like the charges, park somewhere else.

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  15. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    milkenmild – why would anyone not from the immediate vicinity of Wellington CBD travel there to shop? People in Johnsonville will shop locally or go to Porirua where there are no charges for parking. And who misses out? Wellington retailers.
    There is a need to take a car to the CBD, say for Christmas shopping. That need is the requirement to bring stuff home. If it’s a hassle to go to the CBD people will just go elsewhere.

    Shit I hope that Wellington CC never merges with the other councils in the WRC area.

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  16. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    I drove down to Wgtn from home in Akl a couple of weekends ago with my soul-mate. She wanted to see the Te Papa Wedding Dress exhibition. I wanted to see the Chinese New Year events on Frank Kitts Park and in the Events Centre. (No! I am not Chinese!!) Also the Phoenix game at the Stadium.

    We stayed with friends in Churton Park and drove into the City on Saturday and Sunday and parked in various places: the underground Council (?) carpark under the Events Centre, Westpac Stadium plus a couple of times in streets off the Quay.

    Total parking bill for the two days: $105.00.

    Although an ex-Wellingtonian, I drove home to Auckland harbouring dark thoughts about Wellington, its Council and in particular its extortionate parking regime.

    Visitor-friendly? Don’t make me laugh!!

    Get the bus? Puh-leeze! I’m hysterical!

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  17. swan (659 comments) says:

    @ Viking2

    “Well not just Wellington.
    Its a socialist disease that infests this country”

    I am sorry I don’t understand. Which of the following is more socialist?

    A) Allocating a scarce via rationing (e.g. of time) – as the columnist suggests.

    OR

    B) Allocating a scarce resource via a market clearing price – as the council is proposing.

    ???

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  18. Viking2 (11,283 comments) says:

    Neither it is price fixing at its worst. A group of organizations using one another to jack up the price. Probably a good job for the Commerce commission to have a say on.
    Wilsons are no nice consumer friendly outfit. They set the price along with WCC. Worse than Telecom ever was. And they were bad.

    The Council seems to have an infestation of tax (rate/levy/fee) and spend politicians
    Sums it up everywhere.
    In case you think it works have a good look at the other cities around where the city centers are dying. No one needs go there any more and if our lazy Govt. did what it should, changed the Local Govt. act and the Resource Management Act to allow development and then cut the size of local govt. and Govt., Wellington would suffer the same fate.

    Wellington families and businesses can’t afford to fund a Council whose spending keeps increasing faster than not just inflation, but overall economic growth also.

    Neither can the rest of the Families in this country. Oh maybe those that work for the beast.

    Socialism is an incestuous beast that feeds on itself.

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  19. redqueen (521 comments) says:

    It’s Wellington, the city of liquor bans, 30km/h speed zones, a proposed 40km/h general speed, and parking restrictions and costings galore. Hardly surprising that they proposed this and certainly not going to slow down spending until they’ve sucked every last cent out of us. That said, it’s quite amusing that the socialists terrorise the public servant working base, although it does damage our commercial sector (which then just moves up to Auckland). At this rate I’ll have to move to Auckland before long.

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  20. swan (659 comments) says:

    “Neither it is price fixing at its worst. A group of organizations using one another to jack up the price.”

    Bloody capitalists

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  21. Anthony (785 comments) says:

    Free parking at the weekends seems rather silly to me as you can never get a convenient park so have to pay to park in a private park or park miles away. Charging say a dollar an hour in the weekends would not deter shoppers from coming into town but would encourage more turnover of the on-street parks.

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  22. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Anthony,

    They are still subject to the 2 hour maximum, so while it doesn’t cost them anything to park, it can cost quite a bit to hang around. (I have seen the Parkwise folk patrolling on a Sunday too, bless their (WCC and company’s) hearts.)

    I think WCC could do a better job of promoting the Queens Wharf, Waring-Taylor St and Plimmer Towers carparks (assuming they actually want people shopping in Wellington, as opposed to just going to the movies at Reading) – plenty of room there, but the Queens Wharf one always seems to be extortionate when I park there.

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  23. Viking2 (11,283 comments) says:

    swan (251) Says:
    March 3rd, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    “Neither it is price fixing at its worst. A group of organizations using one another to jack up the price.”

    Bloody captalists

    Nah an unholy alliance. = cartel.

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  24. Anthony (785 comments) says:

    If that 2 hour limit is policed then I guess it could cost people – but a lot of people don’t seem to act rationally like that and a one dollar an hour charge would probably work better and raise more money.

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  25. annie (540 comments) says:

    Present mayor’s term excepted, Wellington mayors have thrown huge sums of money at big vanity projects, most of which have turned into white elephants.

    If they’d stuck to the infrastructure basics, we’d all be a hell of a lot better off.

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  26. labrator (1,849 comments) says:

    You can park all day in Wellington (12 hours) for $11. Just as gump said, use those providers instead.

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  27. flightless (2 comments) says:

    Debates about parking are hilarious. Right wing people get caught between their conservative defences of the status quo (which in parking is often underpriced, socialist and regulatory) and their normal support for market prices.

    Would DPF support council owned *cars* that people paid $2/hour for, but you could only use them for two hours?

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  28. Julie Anne Genter (2 comments) says:

    David, I’m surprised! I would have thought that any self respecting capitalist would support a move to user charges to manage parking, as opposed to it being subsidised by ratepayers. Studies have consistently shown that managing demand for parking with prices, as opposed to time limits, is far more efficicent and has a much better outcome for local businesses. It’s a shame the Dom Post is so quick to jump to conclusions. Land in the city is highly valuable — taking up land for storing vehicles is hardly the most economic use when it fetches much lower prices than retail or residential space. Also, hasn’t anyone else noticed that congestion in central Wellington is much worse on the weekend? That’s at least in part because of poor parking management (ie underpricing).

    [DPF: thanks for the comment JA. You are correct that I do not support parking places being subsidised. I have not seen any evidence that they are. I note that the private parking rates are below $4/hr let alone $4.50/hr, so my suspicion is that the public parking spaces are not subsidised.]

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  29. Stu Donovan (6 comments) says:

    Elementary economic mistake my dear David! To help you out let’s briefly review the concepts of supply, demand, and willingness to pay, and in turn how they might affect the price of parking.

    First, we are talking about on-street car-parks, for which there is usually high demand. Private operators provide off-street parking, which is typically less desirable (except perhaps in inclement weather when it may provide additional shelter). Thus, all other things being equal, higher demand means that on-street car-parks will be priced higher.

    But wait – there’s more to this parking price story: Because on-street car-parks are often more conveniently located they tend to be favoured by people who are on short trips. And these people are typically less sensitive to prices (i.e. have higher WTP) than, say, commuters who park all day.

    In the (simple) world of neo-classical economics: finite supply + high demand + high willingness to pay = high prices. How about that? The conservatives don’t seem to understand their own economic system – who would have thought?

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  30. Stu Donovan (6 comments) says:

    P.s. Forgot to mention that supply of on-street parking is more constrained than the supply of offstreet parking. So we have 1. tight supply + 2. higher demand + 3. high willingness to pay = onstreet parking should be priced higher than offstreet. QED, Julie is right.

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  31. wellithought (2 comments) says:

    Maybe the price is not yet high enough? There doesn’t seem to be much investment in new parking buildings from the private sector. Presumably once price (and profits) reach a decent return on investment, we’ll see lots of parking buildings popping up in convenient places. Or do we expect our council to provide them as well?

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