A parking officer was left unconscious and with a fractured eye socket and broken nose after being attacked outside a Wellington primary school.
The Wellington City Council staff member was on duty outside Newtown School in Riddiford St on Friday morning when he was assaulted and seriously injured, the council said.
A witness told Fairfax the assailant punched the officer on the side of the head as he was walking away and "dropped him to the deck".
Council acting chief executive Kane Patena said the parking officer was admitted to hospital and has undergone surgery.
"I visited the parking officer this morning. The officer is conscious and will fully recover, but it will take some time."
Patena said he was "utterly appalled and disgusted" at what he said could only be described as an "idiotic and gutless act of thuggery".
"Our parking officers are good men and women who are simply trying to do their job. Not one of our staff deserves to be treated like this, irrespective of what people think about the profession."
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester described the attack as "unacceptable".
"Councillors and I have sent our best wishes for a speedy recovery to the officer."
Police this afternoon said a 39-year-old man has been charged with wounding with intent to injure and would be appearing in court on Friday.
Police were not seeking anyone else in relation to the incident.
Council human resources director Nicola Brown said the council would be notifying WorkSafe tomorrow and carrying out an internal investigation, which was standard practice when there were safety incidents.
"We are also actively supporting our parking officers who will no doubt be shaken by this incident."
Patena said the parking officer and his family had asked the media and public to respect their privacy at this time.
"However, the officer wants me to convey their sincere gratitude to the members of the public who rendered assistance straight away and to the officer's colleagues who arrived at the scene in a matter of minutes."
The assault follows a series of other reported attacks on parking officers in recent years.
Incidents included an Auckland parking officer being beaten and left with a fractured rib and a partially collapsed lung and another warden in Timaru being shot with a BB gun.
Bill Newson, national secretary of union E tu, said he was not aware of the details of the latest assault.
"But we are generally concerned as a union for the health and safety of people like parking wardens and security guards who are often working in the public domain and caught in stressful situations," he said.
"And our concern is that they are trained and supported adequately to be able to cope with that."