A disabled woman has gone to war with an Auckland hotel and a VIP guest over a mobility car park.
Fran Henricksen turned up at the ibis Auckland Ellerslie hotel on Sunday evening to find a large black ute parked in a mobility parking space and a second mobility park coned off.
Exhausted from working 13 hours at the Armageddon Pulp Culture Expo at the ASB Showgrounds, Henricksen, who uses crutches from a spinal injury, said the last thing she wanted to do was "haul arse across the car park".
"As a disabled customer," Henricksen said in a Facebook posting, "I was unbelievably angry to hear that the customer who was illegally parked was a hotel VIP".
"From my interaction with the staff member I spoke to, it sounded as though the cones were put out so nobody could park next to the VIP [in the adjacent mobility park] and they were reluctant to move them so I could use that park, but eventually did when I requested that they move the cones, or I would find a way to move them myself.
"The attitude of the VIP is so obnoxious and so entitled, and your staff have let it happen, and honestly it just plain sucks," the posting said.
Henricksen said the VIP guest, who she did not want to name, had taken issue with the posting of the licence plate on the ute, claiming breach of privacy and harassment and threatened legal action, but Henricksen was not backing down.
Henricksen said the woman VIP told her she was allowed to park in the mobility space and had regularly been allowed to park there.
Henricksen said the hotel had been in touch and acknowledged the incident was totally unacceptable and insisted it was not regular policy. However she had heard it happened fairly regularly.
ibis Auckland Ellerslie general manager Jamie O'Donnell said the hotel has apologised to Henricksen.
"We regret that on occasion guests of the hotel have used the disabled car park unnecessarily [and we] recognise the importance of offering mobility accessible car parks and facilities at our hotels in accordance with New Zealand law," he said.
O'Donnell said the hotel had reinforced its process to ensure disabled car parks are used only by those who need them. It has arranged for the disability action group CCS to meet with staff and explain the importance of mobility parking and the needs of guests with disabilities.
"It is our number one priority to ensure that we make every hotel guest feel welcome, safe, valued and equal," he said.