Wilson Parking will forego car parking fees on the weekends through October in an attempt to encourage New Zealanders to "get out and about and spend" to aid the economic recovery.
The company, which operates 500 parking ticket machines throughout the country, says it has partnered with ParkMate as part of a 'Pay it Forward' campaign to offer four complimentary 12-hour parking sessions that can be used nationwide from October 10 until November 1.
The company says it is among businesses that had been "hit hard" by the economic downturn brought about by Covid-19 pandemic, and that its weekend parking volumes were down by more than 65 per cent in the June quarter.
Wilson Parking New Zealand has received $2.7 million in wage subsidies. The wage subsidy search tool shows it received $1,722,252 for 260 employees, and a further $994,063.06 for 218 employee from the extension subsidy.
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The international parking giant appears to be offering discounts on weekday parking in city centres to encourage people back into the CBD as retailers continue to struggle with reduced foot traffic.
"We understand that the impact of this year's recession is still yet to be fully felt, so we wanted to do our part by softening some of that blow as money potentially gets tighter for consumers and businesses. We think it's a win-win for shoppers and the businesses they choose to spend with," Ryan Orchard, chief executive of Wilson Parking, said.
"The national level 4 lockdown was tough for the whole country, and we were no different. As an indication of how nearby business trading was impacted, Wilson's weekend parking volumes were effectively 100 per cent down in April compared to the same period the year before.
"More recently, due to the re-emergence of alert levels and cancelled events, Auckland was hit incredibly hard, with weekend parking down more than 40 per cent in September."
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said any initiative that encouraged spending with retailers was a welcomed one.
"We all know how tough this year has been for retailers, so a free parking offer is an affordable and effective way to spur on consumers to get out and shop with businesses in their area," Harford said.
Viv Beck, chief executive of Heart of the City, also welcomed the initiative which will support Auckland-based businesses and increase foot traffic.