25 Mar 2020

'It really is shameful' - Nurse says car park still charging during Covid-19 pandemic

5:41 pm on 25 March 2020

A nurse at Auckland City Hospital says it was punch to the gut to work under the pressure of the pandemic all day then be charged $19 for car parking.

Auckland City Hospital

Auckland City Hospital. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The nurse, who RNZ has agreed not to identify, says it's wrong of of the car park to be profiting in such extreme circumstances.

She said her partner is out of work due to the virus, and she can't afford it.

She said the district health board had indicated it was talking with Wilson Parking so staff would not have to pay.

"I've been working really hard the last several weeks just trying to prepare for the inevitable. And today, I got to work really early ... trying to help all the other nurses, so they can do what they need to do.

"And every single person in that building is putting their own lives on the line, they're putting their families aside, their priorities aside, and taking care of sick people. It's an amazing thing to do ... and I left today and paid $19 to get out of the carpark.

"And it's just it's shameful. It really is shameful. It's pay at the machine and go through the barrier."

"I spoke with somebody at the pay station. She was just equally upset [a nurse].

"The hospital has said that we would not have to pay for parking... I presume that hasn't happened yet. I don't know anymore than that."

She said a refund is not the point, and that might be difficult.

A spokesperson for Wilson Parking said it managed the carpark on behalf of Auckland DHB and that it was Auckland DHB that sets the fees and collects revenue.

"We are deeply disappointed with the speculation that Wilson are profiting from this crisis, these claims are false and could not be further from the truth," a statement from Wilson read.

"Wilson Parking does not set or control the price charged for car parking at DHB sites, we do not share in the parking revenue at any of the DHB sites that we manage. The ADHB set the parking price and can direct Wilson to provide free parking if they choose to. This issue needs to be directed to the ADHB.

"Wilson Parking receive a fixed management fee to keep a number of DHB sites around New Zealand, including the ADHB's Auckland City and Greenlane facilities, safe, clean, and working. We do not set the parking fees.

We are sure that the ADHB is working tirelessly through this health crisis. Our understanding is that unfortunately this nurse mis-understood from internal ADHB communications that parking would be free but Wilson has not received this communication. This issue needs to be directed to the ADHB."

In a statement the Auckland DHB said it's been working with carpark owners to put in place special arrangements for staff and would continue those discussions today.

It is planning to update staff about parking this afternoon.

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs