Petition for free parking in Rotorua fails to win council support

5:29 pm on 5 June 2020

A bid for free parking in Rotorua's central business district has been quashed.


Rotorua business owner Susan Jory launched a petition calling for free parking in the city. Photo: Rotorua Daily Post/ Andrew Warner

Yesterday, councillor Peter Bentley asked Rotorua Lakes Council to drop parking fees as a way to support local businesses.

However, mayor Steve Chadwick said the move was not well thought through.

The idea was voted down at the meeting with only two councillors, Bentley and Reynold Macpherson, in favour.

Bentley's bid was made shortly after local business owner Susan Jory launched a petition calling for free parking in the city.

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Photo: Andrew Warner / Rotorua Daily Post

Jory submitted her petition with 2661 signatures to the council yesterday .

She said "free, effectively managed two-hour parking" would boost the local economy.

"A fairer parking system... will encourage people to shop and eat and spend time in the CBD."

Council operations manager Jocelyn Mikaere recommended supporting current free parking and working with the Inner City Business Group to review parking needs.

Mikaere said 61 per cent of parking in the inner city was already free, with time limits.

Councillor Macpherson said there had been a "great deal of disquiet" about the parking system and he "strongly supported" free parking with time limits.

"We need to send, at this time, a strong signal to CBD businesses that as elected representatives, we really care.

"Many retailers … are on the edge of insolvency. They need an immediate intervention," Macpherson said.

Mayor Chadwick said she did not think Bentley and Macpherson's motion was "well thought through".

"You don't make policy on the hoof. We have to have reports that show the background and how we came to reach the policy that was implemented after quite extensive consultation with the inner city business owners.

"It's very dangerous when political representatives make political spectacles of themselves about populist policy. We've got to be well-informed," Chadwick said.

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