Wellington City Council is turning off its metered parking system in the central city for the immediate future due to the impact of Covid-19.

Drivers will not have to pay for parking in the immediate future, and parking apps and meters will carry "free parking" alerts by this evening.

Mayor Andy Foster and councillor Jenny Condie, who holds the council's parking portfolio, said it was the logical thing to do. "Notwithstanding the fact that traffic volumes have already dropped dramatically around the city, it's also unfair and unnecessary to expect motorists to have to pay for parking at this time," Foster said.

Condie said there would still be parking enforcement in the city and suburbs.

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"Our focus in the immediate future will be on safe and considerate parking – the usual rules will apply. If motorists park dangerously, for example on broken yellow lines, or inconsiderately – for example across someone's driveway – then they will be ticketed and possibly their vehicle may be towed away."

As well as there being no charge for parking, the council confirmed time restrictions would not apply, coupon parking charges would not apply, and the Clifton Terrace car park will be closed.

But customers who lease parks within the Clifton Terrace car ark will still be able to access their parks.

Residents' parking will follow the usual rules. The council will not actively enforce such parking zones, but will respond to complaints.