Wellington Hospital staff furious at what they call blatant profiteering over parking charges

Staff at Wellington Hospital are furious at what they call blatant profiteering, as their parking charges are set to double.

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Bosses argue the charges haven't increased in seven years and it's no longer sustainable to keep subsidising them. Source: 1 NEWS

Bosses say it will help the region meet its climate change obligations, but some staff say it'll make their journeys to and from work dangerous when public transport is not an option.

“A lot of nurses I know get to work almost an hour early or more just to make sure they get a car park and they're feeling really upset that now they're asked to pay double for a park that's not even guaranteed,” one nurse said.

This nurse doesn't want to be identified but says they're offended by the proposal to hike parking prices for employees from $4.50 a day to $7.50.

“It's not just doctors and surgeons we're talking about. one of the groups that's going to be hit hardest by this is our cleaners and our healthcare assistants who are on lower wages,” a nurse told 1 NEWS.

It's feared the change will hurt more than just wallets.

“We're really worried about our shift workers, there are some major concerns for security for people who are choosing not to park onsite and to go further afield,” Kate Western from the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation said.

In an email the Capital and Coast District Health Board told staff the prices have not changed in seven years, are heavily subsidised, and sit well below market rates.

“Ongoing subsidisation is not a viable long-term solution and is no longer sustainable, meaning we need to increase rates incrementally over the next three years to align them more with market rates,” the email read.

“Further increases will take place over the following two years.”

1 NEWS requested an interview with the DHB and we were sent the same email received by staff, which also included a suggestion employees start using public transport to help NZ meet its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.

“It feels like much more of a revenue gathering action than genuinely for climate change,” Western said.

Parking for healthcare workers isn't just a problem in the capital.

“This is a major issue across the country. carparking needs to be accessible and it needs to be affordable,” Western said.

Staff at Wellington Hospital have until this Monday to submit feedback on the proposed increase.