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‘Not Just Bad’: Auckland CBD’s Parking Policy A Step Backward

From 1 July, AT plans to make drivers pay for on-street parking 24 hours a day in central Auckland. File image. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Auckland Transport's decision to charge for overnight and public holiday parking in the CBD is not just a bad policy; it’s a damaging one that threatens the very essence of our city's vibrancy and growth. 

As someone deeply invested in the development and success of Auckland’s central business district, I am compelled to speak out against these shortsighted measures.

These new charges will deter residents and visitors alike, stripping away the convenience and accessibility that make the CBD attractive. The heart of Auckland is already struggling to recover post-pandemic, and additional financial burdens will only drive people away. 

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How can we expect businesses to thrive when their customers are penalised for coming into the city? How can we foster a lively, bustling downtown if we impose barriers that discourage participation?

Beyond the immediate economic impacts, these policies signal a worrying trend of decision-making that fails to consider the broader implications for community and growth. Charging for parking on public holidays and overnight not only inconveniences but also alienates the very people we want to attract. It’s a move that says, “We don’t want you here.”

Recent statistics reveal that New Zealand faces a significant net migration loss, with many residents leaving due to a lack of opportunities and rising living costs. 

We are at a critical juncture where our leadership must make decisions that infuse ambition and opportunity into the country, rather than creating more roadblocks. 

It is essential for policy makers to foster collaborative relationships with the business community to understand what is genuinely required for Auckland’s CBD to thrive. 

Policies must be designed with input from those who are directly affected – the businesses and residents who call the CBD home.

As a property manager deeply embedded in the Auckland CBD, I see firsthand the potential for growth and innovation. However, this potential can only be realised if we create an environment that supports and nurtures it. 

Let’s think creatively about revitalising the CBD. How about implementing free or discounted parking during off-peak hours to encourage more foot traffic? Or investing in better public transport options that genuinely make it easier for people to choose the CBD over other destinations?

Auckland has the potential to be a vibrant, inclusive, and thriving city centre, but only if we make policies that welcome and encourage engagement. Let’s not drive people away with punitive charges. Instead, let’s create a CBD that invites people in, fosters business, and showcases the best of what our city has to offer.

It’s time for our leadership to act with vision and courage. Let’s make Auckland a place where opportunities abound and where ambition is nurtured. By working together – policy makers, businesses, and residents – we can ensure that the CBD not only survives but thrives, becoming a beacon of prosperity and innovation.

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Rishabh is CEO at Impressions Real Estate, a property management firm that manages at least 1,000 properties, mostly in Auckland CBD

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