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People attending shows in central Auckland are outraged at "event rates" being charged at parking buildings that are up to double normal prices.
Parking meter machines are being boarded up and attendants employed to charge parkers up to $25 for night-time services that are usually delivered for between $8 and $12.
Regular concertgoer Geoffrey Hughes said he was confronted with the higher prices last Thursday when he was trying to secure a park at a Wilson Parking building for the opening night of the New Zealand Opera's La Traviata.
"I pulled into the Wilson carpark where I usually get charged $12 for an evening and the machine was blocked off and a staff member with an Eftpos machine told me that because the opera and orchestra were on the same night it was event parking and would be $20."
The same thing happened when he tried to attend another event on Saturday.
"I think it is disgusting, I see it as scalping."
Mr Hughes' brother-in-law encountered the same thing when he tried to park in a Wilson building for the Michael Buble concert in May, except he was charged $25.
Wilson Parking regional manager Ryan Orchard said that increases were due to the demand for parking when events were on.
"The heightened demand requires us to provide additional resource - attendants with mobile Eftpos units, traffic direction, signage, security - to ensure the carpark runs smoothly, safely, and a high level of service is achieved for our customers.
"As a result of these pressures, quite often the price of parking at the most conveniently located carparks during an event are positioned slightly higher than a normally discounted weekend or evening 'flat rate'."
Peter Slocum said he was also stung $20 for parking near the Auckland Town Hall venue.
"[I] was equally charged $20 for the pleasure of parking in a derelict facility characterised by dim lighting, broken and uneven concrete flooring and large puddles," he said.
Another woman had to pay more than $25 at the Britomart Car Park Building in April after the Joss Stone and India Arie concert ran late, and she was penalised.
Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development chief executive Brett O'Riley said Auckland Council did not change its parking prices for events.
The agency was aware of the increased prices but it was not breaking any regulations, he said.
Mr O'Riley advised people to use council facilities or public transport and to plan their journeys in advance to avoid the higher prices.
Vector Arena general manager Brendan Hines said he was aware that prices were lifted for event nights.
"If you park in a spot you know and then you go there on an event night and it's more, I can understand why that would annoy people."
Between 50 and 60 per cent of concertgoers drove to the venue, and Mr Hines advised them to shop around for the cheapest parking.
- By Morgan Tait of the New Zealand Herald