Auckland Council executives might swap car park for travel pass


Car parking perks might be replaced with free public transport for Auckland Council executives.


The council is reducing the number of spaces it provides for personal staff use, with 49 senior staff, including three in the mayor's office, entitled to free parking either under the council headquarters, or in the nearby Civic Car Park.


The Civic Car Park spaces are a benefit worth $6120 annually at the long-term lease rates charged out by Auckland Transport.

Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town said discussions with staff who have parking perks would be around "walking the talk" for climate change and public transport.

Town himself is entitled to use the Civic Car Park, but also e-scooters on fine days to the Albert St headquarters.

Personal use car parks are an entitlement for executives earning about $200,000 or more, those with accessibility needs, or where it's "warranted on health and safety grounds".

The council has been reviewing the provision of central city car parking for staff, and when Stuff first inquired in December there were 77, but by February the number had fallen to 49.

"With changes to the way we work, and to encourage active and public transport options, we will continue to look to reduce this further," Robert Irvine, the council's general manager of corporate property and support services, said.

"Our next step is to assess the parking for senior roles, including clarifying any contractual requirements under each person's terms of employment."

Once the review is completed, options could include the issuing of ATHOP public transport cards, the council said.

A year of unlimited bus and train travel on an ATHOP card would cost $2580 – less than half the lease rate of a car park, although ferry use would cost more. 

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was guarded when asked whether he would raise the question of alternative benefits with his three staff who have car parks – his chief of staff, director of political strategy and his office manager.

"For staff who work sometimes quite late at night where there might not be [public transport] services, or for people like myself who don't live anywhere near a public transport service, we are required to travel by car because there simply isn't an alternative," he said. 

"I know at least one of the people who would have access to the car park, and she will often use alternative means to get here."

Mode shift – getting motorists out of their cars – is the new buzzword in transport, with Auckland Council and the Government agreeing on a long-term strategy to sharpen the focus of projects they will fund.

At the council agency Auckland Transport, one of the 1600 staff has a personal use car park.