Coronavirus: Wilson Parking slashes prices as occupancy plummets


Wilson Parking is slashing the cost of some car parks by as much as 60 per cent as occupancy plummets.


But unless drivers do their homework before heading out, pulling up to a parking building will be a lottery.


When New Zealand went into coronavirus lockdown in March, car parks around the country were left deserted, hitting both councils and private parking businesses in the pocket.


And as thousands of Kiwis continue to work from home, many sites usually popular with commuters remain largely empty.

Ryan Orchard, chief executive of Wilson Parking NZ, said current occupancy levels were close to 70 per cent lower than usual for the time of year.

The parking juggernaut operates dozens of parking facilities across 11 towns and cities nationwide. Standard fees for causal parking range from a couple of dollars an hour in the provinces to $13 an hour in Auckland's CBD.

"Rather than inflate prices, we believe offering people flexible and affordable parking solutions is the best way to support the New Zealand economy," Orchard said.

That includes contactless payment through its ParkMate app and savings of up to 60 per cent at some sites.

However, because the deals change day-to-day, finding a cheap spot on the hop could come down to luck.

To increase the chances of securing a prime position for a pittance, Orchard recommends drivers call ahead or visit the Wilson Parking website before leaving home.

Offers are also listed on the ParkMate app.

As councils attempt to encourage people to get out and support businesses and private parking businesses try to boost occupancy following the Covid-19 lockdown, deals are springing up.

The Christchurch City Council will offer a free hour of parking will be at its Lichfield St and Art Gallery car parks between June 2 and August 31.

The Marlborough District Council is also rolling out a free parking scheme in Blenheim and Picton, allowing up to two hours of free parking in selected areas until June 30.

No such luck for drivers in Wellington, however.

After switching off its metered parking system on March 24, the city council's goodwill came to an abrupt end on May 12, resulting in 863 parking tickets and 44 infringements in one day.