Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

$14m empty carpark - that you paid for

Rates slashed but Manukau's $14m parking building remains almost empty daily.

The controversial $14m parking building. Photo / Kellie Blizard
The controversial $14m parking building. Photo / Kellie Blizard

A carparking building in Manukau that cost ratepayers $14 million to build is sitting virtually empty and slashing prices to attract vehicles.

The building has been called a "dog" by councillor Dick Quax and lauded by Mayor Len Brown as a transformational project for the Manukau community - few of whom are using it.

When the Herald visited yesterday, the top two levels of the seven-storey Ronwood Ave carpark were empty and there were just 10 vehicles on the top five levels, including five Auckland Council cars.

The first and second floors had 62 and 18 vehicles respectively, but overall the 680-space carpark hadan occupancy rate of just 13 per cent.

It is understood the occupancy rate has improved since Auckland Transport cut the hourly rate from $3 to $1 and the all-day casual rate from $19 to $6 and $4 for an early bird special.

The transport body is matching and, in some instances, undercutting its own on-street rates to lure vehicles to the carpark. The on-street charges are $1 an hour and up to a maximum of $5 for all-day parking.

The $14.05 million carpark opened on June 18 as a revenue-gathering, commercial operation by Auckland Transport.

An Auckland Transport spokeswoman yesterday said it was performing below budget while the new Manukau Institute of Technology campus - which is leasing 240 carparks - was still under construction.

It was also built to free up valuable land in the city centre for future development to provide another 354 leases and act as a park-and-ride facility for the new Manukau branch line railway station with 86 public spaces.

The pro-public transport Auckland Transport Blog has called the carpark a disaster and an appalling waste of money, and published aerial photographs showing it set in a "sea of ... car parking" at Manukau central.

Mr Quax said the carpark was a dog and he did not believe it would reach capacity for a long time, and councillor George Wood described it as a strange project with few vehicles using it.

But Mr Brown, who encountered strong resistance to the carpark when he was Mayor of Manukau City, remains bullish.

"This project is an investment in the future of Manukau City along with the neighbouring train station and MIT campus currently being built," he said. "It is an example of our commitment to our growing metropolitan centres across Auckland."

A planned $6 million expansion of the carpark has been cancelled.

Carparking woes

$14m cost to build
680 parking spaces
90 spaces in use yesterday
$19 original all-day casual rate
$4 new all-day early bird rate

- NZ Herald

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