The end is nigh for Tauranga CBD’s free parking

On-street parking in Tauranga's CBD will cost from December 1. File image/SunLive.

Two years of free on-street parking in Tauranga's city centre will come to end at the start of December to encourage a higher turnover of car parks.

At a Tauranga City Council meeting today, the commissioners unanimously voted to remove free on-street parking in the city centre 'core area” from December 1 2022 as part of the council's Parking Management Plan.

Parking will change from two hours free parking to $1 per hour for the first two hours, then $5 per hour after that from 8am - 6pm Monday to Saturday (variable on-street charges).

This will change to $2 per hour for the first two hours from February 1, 2023.

The core area encompasses the land between Harington Street and Second Avenue from Cameron to The Strand and Tauranga waterfront.

Director of Transport Brendan Bisley told the meeting the plan aimed to change the on-street parking to 'high turnover customer-based” carparking.

The free parking trial was established by the previous council in mid-2020 in response to Covid disruption.

The decision to remove the trial is based on discouraging workers parking for free all day instead of in the long-stay carparks, and encouraging people to use other modes of transport.

Parking fees in the council-owned parking areas range from $6 for a day at the Cliff Road carpark to $17 per day in the parking buildings on Elizabeth and Spring/Durham Street.

The trial resulted in workers using the carparks for extended periods, and created the situation where few carparks are available for customers of stores and businesses in the city centre, according to the report prepared by Bisley and council service transformation manager Paul Dunphy.

On-street time limits are enforced through a licence plate recognition vehicle with fines sent to the registered vehicle owner via the post.

An infringement for overstaying a time restriction varies between $12 to $57 depending on the length of the overstay.

The average infringement value issued in the city centre is $15 due to the time period that the parking restriction applies, according to the report.

'Some motorists are happy to pay this cost as it was lower than the parking building charge,” said the report.

The hope is all-day parking charges and the $40 fine for failing to pay for parking would 'act as a deterrent to stop workers using the carparks for all day use”.

Bisley said the move toward user pays was to create 'cost neutral” parking and paying down debt.

'We're not looking to make a profit.”

He said running the trial resulted in council loosing around $1m per year because supplying carparking "does cost".

Commission chair Anne Tolley. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

Commission chair Anne Tolley said the idea of a vibrant CBD was to have "constant turnover" which is what they were "trying to get back to" with the implementation of parking charges.

She said her worry was $1 'is pretty cheap” and suggested changing this to $2 per hour after the Christmas period, from February 1 2023.

'We have to get back to being neutral, that parking pays for itself.”

Bisley said the $1 per hour was "recognition" of moving from a free parking model to paid, and transitioning to $2 per hour was "sensible".

Commissioner Bill Wasley agreed with the increase to $2 per hour.

According to the report the forecasted budget for the 2022/23 financial year is a loss of $981,567.

This includes $1.2m in forecasted revenue created with the implementation of variable on-street parking, based on the $1 per hour model.

The forecast is also based on an average 4 hour stay, assuming 50 per cent occupancy, Monday to Saturday charging, and a 10 per cent uptake of the Elizabeth Street carpark building utilisation for workers.

If the free trial were to continue the forecasted loss was -$1,937,828.

As part of the plan, no parking behind the berms will be implemented, for the entire city centre from Marsh Street to 11th Avenue from December 1 as well.

Wasley supported this extension and said sometimes the city looks like an 'utter shambles” with cars parked behind the berms.

The plan will also see two hour parking restrictions across the city centre fringe and wider areas in the Te Papa penisula up to 11th Avenue, including Memorial Park from November 2023.

Paid parking will also be introduced from November next year in the city centre fringe, which includes the area between Park Street and Harington Street, Cameron Roadd and State Highway 2 and between Second Ave and Arundel St.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.


Goodbye CBE

Posted on 03-10-2022 16:53 | By fair game

Yet another nail in the coffin. It's still like a ghost town. Shouldn't the free parking be extended to encourage people back? Especially with Christmas not far away. So much easier and cheaper to go the malls....


Posted on 03-10-2022 18:28 | By dumbkof2

now the end is nigh for the CBD, tolly and mahuta and her cohorts in the labour govt dont give a damm for tauranga. they don't even live here.

For me

Posted on 03-10-2022 18:39 | By Kancho

The end isn't nigh it's passed

Classic TCC

Posted on 03-10-2022 18:42 | By Fedup

The only fix for the CBD is free timed parking. “high turnover customer-based” carparking for what? There are no shops, nothing! The only people in town are the ones that work there. Another forgettable decision from TCC.

Not quite fair

Posted on 03-10-2022 19:18 | By Womby

In my opinion

Commissioner Tolley

Posted on 03-10-2022 19:28 | By Womby

Mount Maunganui has no cbd meters Please do a park n ride for Tauranga cbd workers who hog the parking to avoid the over exuberant parking ticket writers Don’t burn the few people who enjoy the city even though the Cameron road farce and empty shops perhaps should drive them to the free parking at bay fair, Tauranga crossing, Bethlehem etc Some city centres may be vibrant and thriving, this one isn’t and $2 an hour cannot help but choke it some more. I had a business for thirty years there, I have considerable experience in listening to the shoppers


Posted on 04-10-2022 05:10 | By Slim Shady

They have a vision. They are believers. They think if they say it often enough and forcibly enough, people will follow. Unfortunately, it’s wishful thinking.

Run away

Posted on 04-10-2022 09:02 | By Let's get real

The writing is on the wall small business owners... Council doesn't want you or your staff in town. It's much easier to manage empty buildings. Hospitality activities on the Strand should start providing cycle racks and consider changing the outlying malls into fine dining hubs. The downtown area is being prepared, at ratepayers expense, for total handover to Maori interests for rental purposes of council buildings.

Penalising the workers again

Posted on 04-10-2022 11:32 | By WestieMum

This will hit the workers hard in their pockets - we are the ones that bring any "life" to the city centre. Why do you think we park so far out of town and walk in? Because we can't afford the parking fees as it is! Why do we love our cars so much? Because the bus service sucks and for many cycling isn't an option. Groceries, petrol, rates, rents all increasing and squeezing those who can least afford it to the limit. And now this. Agreed to by people who probably can afford to pay for leased parking. So out of touch with the majority of the community. So disappointing.


Posted on 04-10-2022 11:47 | By Jules L

The commissioners say that they want to make people use the long-term carparks instead of on-street parking. Would that be the same long-term carparks that the commissioners just approved the removal of, as part of their new city-centre plan? What an absolute farce. Meanwhile, the hypocritical commissioners will continue to enjoy the free carparking that we mugs the ratepayers are forced to provide for them, so it's only us plebs that have the problem, what do they care?

The problem is...

Posted on 04-10-2022 13:02 | By morepork

...that people who work in the CBD are taking the parking that is supposed to be provided for the (almost non-existent) shoppers. Why not reserve long term parking in the buildings for city based employees? Say, $5 a day in berths reserved by companies, for their employees. These berths would revert to public use outside working hours, to accommodate evening diners and shoppers. But before the CBD can be revitalized you have to make it attractive to businesses, so that there are actually premises people will want to visit, browse, and shop. I mourn the departure of stores like Cabbages and Kings, but if overheads are too high and traffic flow is too low, what do you expect? The Council vision of everyone biking into town to shop, or riding empty Buffalo buses, remains a pipe dream. Pour all the money you like into it; it changes nothing.

Tone Deaf

Posted on 04-10-2022 22:52 | By Fernhill22

With the rising costs of inflation hitting people hard this is going to impact on businesses in the CBD with more employees wanting to work from home. If they don’t get what they want employees will leave & get another job elsewhere without having to travel. Less people in town means less income spent, and a complete waste of time spending $300m on a civic precinct. TCC seem to be so tone deaf to what people actually want for Tauranga. Number 1 priority was infrastructure yet this is only getting worse with money wasted on stuff no one wants. This driving people out of the CBD.

Dumb and Dumber

Posted on 05-10-2022 09:04 | By an_alias

You have already killed the CBD, the only life line for some business was free parking. We have the least qualified people running the show it seems.

@ WestieMum

Posted on 05-10-2022 13:49 | By Yadick

So well said. Totally agree with you.

The workers are the vibrance

Posted on 05-10-2022 14:28 | By Tim Boyne

Chasing workers out of the CBD isn't the answer. All they're doing is encouraging more working from home, and employers like myself (60 staff) to look elsewhere.


Posted on 05-10-2022 21:30 | By groutby

...I couldn't give a rats either way, the city centre died a while ago for is disappointing to think the decision makers are unable or worse still not prepared or able to harness the enthusiasm of the 'masses' in the form of ratepayers and simply do what they intend to anyway....hardly democratic is it?....

CBD Parking

Posted on 06-10-2022 15:37 | By PJ-Bethlehem

I am sure that both of the people who regularly shop in the CBD will be annoyed, the rest of us not surprised at all.

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