Car parking fees help pump cash to hospitals

Paid car parking at hospitals earned the Wellington region's district health boards more than $2.7 million in the last year, a figure that has more than doubled in the past five years.

Figures obtained by The Dominion Post show that while in 2007/2008 Capital and Coast was pocketing $842,608, that figure had grown to $2,055,235 in the past year.

The biggest jump in earnings came between 2008 and 2009, where revenue ballooned from $861,461 to $1,875,092.

Clinical and corporate support executive director Kelvin Watson said the increase in that year was due to the opening of the new regional hospital which meant a rise in the number of car parks available.

All revenue from car parking charges is absorbed into Capital and Coast's coffers and is not allocated to any specific purpose.

The DHB charges up to $10 a day for parking, starting with a $4 charge if parking for more than 20 minutes. CCDHB operates a total of 2063 car parks spread over the Wellington, Kenepuru and Kapiti hospitals.

Hutt Valley District Health Board's revenue from car parking grew from $232,596 in the 2007/2008 year to $736,538 in the most recent year. The DHB operates 850 car parks at Hutt Hospital.

Chief executive Graham Dyer attributed this jump in revenue to Hutt Valley bringing parking back in-house in the final four months of the 2008/2009 year. "Prior to that, Wilson car parking managed the contract and paid the DHB a monthly contract price. The revenue increase in 2010/11 was a full year of charges being in-house and not contracted."

Mr Dyer said the amount did not include costs of running the parking, which came to about $320,000 for administration, repairs and building costs.

It costs a maximum of $9 a day to park at Hutt Hospital. Wairarapa DHB does not charge for parking, as is the case with the health boards of Hawke's Bay, Whanganui and Taranaki.

The Dominion Post