Pay more to park

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - BRIT­TANY BAKER

Free park­ing at New Ply­mouth’s air­port is to be slashed and higher charges in­tro­duced to help pay for the ter­mi­nal’s $28.7 mil­lion up­grade.

From Feb­ru­ary 12 the one-hour free park­ing will be cut to 20 min­utes and hourly park­ing costs will go from $1 to $2.

The dou­bling of the hourly park­ing fee was to help pay for the multi-mil­lion dol­lar ter­mi­nal up­grade, air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive Wayne Woot­ton said.

‘‘We were the only place in the coun­try to of­fer one-hour free park­ing,’’ he said. ‘‘Now it’s more of a com­mer­cial busi­ness, we’re try­ing to align our­selves with other air­ports.’’

Woot­ton said there was the po­ten­tial for the new charges to be re­viewed again when the ter­mi­nal up­grade was fin­ished. ‘‘We’re not go­ing to the full ex­treme. We’re go­ing to see how it goes.’’

Ini­tial re­ac­tions on so­cial me­dia were mostly neg­a­tive. found most were un­happy with the re­duc­tion in free park­ing from one hour to 20 min­utes.

Bar­bara Smith com­mented: ‘‘Ba­si­cally that makes it a drop off and go. Not good, it doesn’t send a pos­i­tive mes­sage to the tourists New Ply­mouth needs.’’

But Woot­ton be­lieved the changes were fair and rea­son­able and he be­lieved peo­ple would hap­pily pay for park­ing, es­pe­cially when the new ter­mi­nal was com­plete. ‘‘Be­cause there will be more to see.’’

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