Auckland Council is abandoning parking charges and will not have parking wardens out on the street during the national lockdown, says Mayor Phil Goff.

Wellington City Council yesterday said it was turning off its metered parking in the central city but would continue enforcement in the city and suburbs.

Goff said parking was not going to be an issue in the central city and parking wardens would not be out on the streets during the lockdown.

"These are extraordinary times and we are not prioritising collecting or enforcing parking meters or restrictions," he said.

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Auckland Transport (AT) is working through how it will manage on and off street parking during the lockdown with a focus on free-flowing access for emergency vehicles and other essential traffic.

Once the country moves to Alert Level 4 at 11.59pm tonight, public transport services in Auckland and elsewhere will only be available for people working in essential services, for medical reasons and to more or access essential services, including going to the supermarket.

While travel will be free, people in Auckland should continue to tag on and off using their HOP cards to allow AT to monitor passenger numbers and adjust services due to changes in demand. They should use the rear door to get on and off the bus.

Essential workers could be asked to show who they work for and people should, if possible, carry identification to show who they are, who they work for and their job.

From tomorrow morning, trains, buses and ferries contracted by AT will run to a reduced timetable. Details are available at: https://at.govt.nz/COVID-19

The sharp drop in public transport usage - Aucklanders take about 2 million public transport trips a week - is one of several revenue streams having an impact on council finances.

The NZ Transport Agency and Ministry of Transport have made available extra funding to councils during the Covid-19 crisis to ensure essential public transport services are provided, and services are not cut because of financial concerns. Funding is in place until June 30.

Revenue is falling sharply at council facilities and venues, the $150 million a year from the regional fuel tax will take a hit from people staying home, and dividends to council from Auckland Airport and Ports of Auckland (signalled before Covid-19) are drying up.

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Goff said the council was facing a year of two halves; a strong first six months with a healthy set of accounts, followed by the impacts of Covid-19.

"Clearly there is going to be a significant impact on revenues," he said, saying the council still plans to introduce a planned 3.5 per cent rates rise in July.

Rising costs for waste management and lowering rates for business could see rates tip the scales at 4.5 per cent for households.

Goff said the council was not going to be "sharpening the knives" for people who could not pay their rates for circumstances beyond their control, saying council was looking at measures to help those people.

Auckland Council finance chairwoman Desley Simpson. Photo / Herald
Auckland Council finance chairwoman Desley Simpson. Photo / Herald

Finance committee chairwoman Desley Simpson said the council is modelling four scenarios as it faces the difficult job of dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.

She would not say what the scenarios were, but said the impacts were changing daily.

"Everyone is working around the clock to get their heads around these unprecedented times for the city," Simpson said.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website