Wilson Parking to give up car parks after Commerce Commission investigation into price hikes

Wilson Parking is giving up hundreds of car parks it currently runs in Wellington, as part of a settlement deal with the Commerce Commission.

Source: Seven Sharp

The court battle between Wilson and the Commerce Commission began in 2018, after the parking company had acquired the rights to the Capital car park.

At the time, the Commerce Commission says Wilson hadn't applied for clearance to acquire the lease.

Customers then complained about the Capital car park raising its prices, prompting an investigation by the Commerce Commission.

Wilson Parking has now agreed to divest three of its parking facilities, including Capital, freeing up 850 parking bays.

As part of the settlement, Wilson also agreed to pay $500,000 towards the Commerce Commission's costs, the watchdog says.

Commission chair Anna Rawlings says it'll "reintroduce a measure of competition" in Wellington, giving customers an alternative to Wilson Parking.

"Anti-competitive acquisitions are a priority area for the commission and this is a reminder to businesses that if there is any doubt about the competition effects of a merger, they should seek clearance from us before completing the deal," she said in a statement today.

Under the arrangement, the Commerce Commission will need to approve the purchasers of the car parking leases.

Wilson Parking will also need to notify the Commerce Commission if it plans to acquire more parking spots in Wellington central for the next five years.

In its own statement to 1 NEWS, Wilson Parking says the court proceedings ended "without any admission of fault from Wilson Parking or any finding of a breach of the Commerce Act".

"Wilson Parking is committed to continuing to invest in its operations to maintain its excellent service to our customers," chief executive Ryan Orchard says.

"We believe that our open collaboration with the Commerce Commission is mutually beneficial and is an example of how we proactively work with communities and businesses in building support for future endeavours."

Wilson Parking says around 20 per cent of car parking buildings in central Wellington were damaged by the Kaikōura earthquake in 2016, with some still remaining closed four years on.