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John MacDonald: 24/7 parking charges are the future

Publish Date
Mon, 13 May 2024, 12:30pm
Photo / Stockxchng
Photo / Stockxchng

John MacDonald: 24/7 parking charges are the future

Publish Date
Mon, 13 May 2024, 12:30pm

People are getting very excited - not in a good way - this plan in Auckland to start charging people 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week to park their cars in the CBD. 

Apparently, mayor Wayne Brown isn’t even happy about it. But I don’t know why. I think it’s a great idea and I think we should be doing it in Christchurch. 

Now, when I say I think it’s great, I’m not saying I love paying money to park. Who does? 

But I think we’re getting to the point where we can’t avoid doing what Auckland is doing. And I’ll tell you why. 

For starters, in Christchurch, have you seen the never-ending line of people with their hands out to the council for money? 

Example - In the news today, we’ve got the people behind the restoration of the jetty at Governor's Bay wanting more money from the council. This is all part of the Long-Term Plan process, where councils put their budget together for the next ten years. 

So, today it’s the jetty people. Who else have we got wanting more money from the Council? 

There’s Orana Park... the Arts Centre... they’re just a couple who have turned up at the council in the past week pleading their cases for more money. 

Now, I could be wrong. But, I bet no one has turned up so far - and I bet no one is going to turn up at the hearings this week, either - begging the council to charge more for anything. 

There’s no shortage of people telling the council not to charge them 13 percent more in their rates bill. And there’s no shortage of people who think they deserve to get their hands on more council money. 

But, they’re all dreaming if they think more money can go out the door without more money coming in the door. 

This is not just a Christchurch thing. The same thing’s going on at councils everywhere. 

And if you want more money from the council and you don’t want to pay higher rates, then the only solution is for the council to look at ways it can get more money in the pot. 

One way it could do that is to follow the lead of Auckland and start charging parking fees 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week. 

I think Auckland Transport is being refreshingly real. And I think instead of criticising them for it, we should be doing the same thing here. 

So, what would be the downsides? There’d be a few. I’ll admit that. 

For example, if you have an apartment in town and, instead of spending $100,000 more to get your own private car park, you’ve got a place with no car park - you’d be impacted. 

Because there are plenty of people living in apartments in the central city who don’t have their own car parks and park out on the street overnight instead. Doesn’t cost a thing at the moment. If we did what Auckland is doing, though, they’d have to pay. 

But they would have other options - Monthly rentals at some of the car parking buildings are pretty reasonable. I've heard of someone paying about $180 per month. What’s that? About $6 a day. That’s for the whole 24 hours. 

Some people will say, too, that if they had to pay for parking at nighttime - for example - businesses would be badly affected. I don’t buy that, because I have never made a decision whether to go to a particular restaurant or bar, or a movie, or concert, based on what it might cost me to park. 

If someone wants to take their car into the CBD, they will pay. Whatever day and whatever time. Trust me. 

Yes, there would be a lot of noise about it, but that would die away and we’d have more money coming into the council coffers so that, when all these people turn up asking for money, they’d have a much more realistic chance of getting what they want. 

More money has to come in the door before more can go out. It’s simple.


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