Parking in the CBD has been a hot topic in Rotorua for a few years now.

To me, it appeared to start when the council amended its free parking trial in 2014, replacing the many two-hour free parks with an array of 60 and 90-minute free parking.

Some CBD workers were annoyed by this as they had become accustomed to using these free parks while they worked, popping out to move their car every couple hours.

However, people got used to it eventually and life moved on.


In January 2016, the free parking trial ended and the CBD ended up with a mix of free 60-minute parking and paid parking for a maximum of three hours in the inner city zone.

But amid the free trial about 50 car parks were taken out of the CBD to make way for the Green Corridor.

This seemed to be a harder pill to swallow for some, particularly business owners who lost car parks directly outside their shops.

The loss of car parks, more than three years later, is still mentioned as a bugbear when the CBD is discussed.

With a barely-concealed resentment by some towards these parking charges, which were rolled out in a relatively short time span, perhaps that's why some locals have been so quick to criticise the latest change to parking - the technology.

The new machines, peppered along the streets, offering coin and card pay options and a pay-by-licence-plate model were introduced last year.

Personally, I've found the new system convenient and easy to use but others disagree.

Complaints about not all machines accepting coins, the 50 cent surcharge on cards and not having a machine in front of every park have all featured in our Letters to the Editor.


While some of these complaints have merit - I do think the surcharge is greedy - the reality is, this technology is not Rotorua pushing the boundaries, it's Rotorua playing catch up.

We are fast becoming a cashless society and many cities have already done away with coin-operated parking, having the pay machine for all the parks in one spot.

People of all ages and abilities seem to manage in these cities so there's no reason Rotorua can't be the same.

I think what it really comes down to is a resistance to change.

But eventually this new parking system will become familiar and comfortable, and people will forget what it was like before.

Then when it is inevitably replaced you'll find people clinging to it the same way people are clinging to coin meters now.