User pays for weekend car-parking in Wellington

29 August 2018


Wellington City Council has agreed to proceed to a user-pays model with parking at weekends.

Parked cars.

The system will start on September 8, following a full council meeting today where councillors voted 11-3 in favour of the new system.

The weekend parking, which will be at a discounted rate to week days, is expected to bring in $3 million a year and help bring down rate increases.

“The weekend parking charge is part of a budget package which got 73 percent support during the Long-Term Plan process,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

“Parking fees are always going to be unpopular but we believe there will be positive effects.

“Anecdotally people avoid the CBD at the weekend because parking is hard to find in high demand areas. People are spending a lot of time driving around just looking for a park.

“Tens of thousands of vehicles are coming in to Wellington at the weekend and many of the out-of-towners’ parking is being subsidised by Wellington ratepayers.

“Fewer cars in the CBD will mean fewer carbon emissions and a more liveable central city.”

The Mayor says Council parking only accounts for 14 percent of the spaces available in Wellington. Private parking companies will continue to charge at weekends.

The Council weekend fees will apply 8am–6pm, Saturday–Sunday. It will cost $2.50 per hour in all high-demand areas with a weekday rate of $3 and above, and $1.50 per hour in all parking spaces on the city fringe with a weekday rate of less than $3.

The Council’s Transport Portfolio Leader, Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman, says weekend parking was never actually “free”.

“Weekend parking was funded by the Downtown Targeted Rate ($1.4m); a fee charged to commercial properties in the central city. This fee is now being passed on to the user - so the fees are paid for by the people using the parking spaces. We believe this is a much fairer system. Other big cities, Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin, charge for weekend parking.”

Cr Calvi-Freeman says free weekend parking was introduced in the CBD in 1996. Back then it had the support of retailers as a means of encouraging more people into the city. At that time the CBD’s population was tiny but now more than 20,000 people live in the central city.

“The CBD has changed out of sight and there’s now really no need for an expensive subsidised parking scheme – a huge proportion of people in shops and cafes at the weekends now also haven’t arrived in a car – they’ve walked, cycled or taken public transport.

“We want to encourage more people to use these methods of transport. And if people do have to bring their cars into town, there will be parks for them.”

The Council today also approved a fee increase to coupon and parking permits that haven’t risen in 8 years.

Cr Calvi-Freeman says revenue from coupon parking and residents’ permits helps fund roading infrastructure work that otherwise would have to be met from rates.

Changes to the parking coupon and permit fees, from September 1

Coupon Parking

Current fee

New fee

Parking coupon – monthly

$120

$135

Parking coupon – daily

$7.50

$8.50

Parking coupon – trade (city centre) full day

$40

$45

Parking coupon – trade (city centre) half day

$20

$22.50

Parking coupon – trade (suburb) full day

$7.50

$8.50

Parking Permit

Current fee

New fee

Resident parking permit (12 months)

$115

$126.50

Resident parking permit (3 months)

$30

No Change

Exemption parking permit (12 months)

$65

$71.50

Guesthouse parking permit (10 permits)

$17

$18.70

Loading zone perking permit (12 months)

$55

$60.50