Lions fans 'happy' with parking price hike

3:35 pm on 29 June 2017

Some Lions fans say they're happy to pay $130 to park in Wellington overnight considering the location, access to toilets and hot water, and a special licence to have a wee dram.

Lions fans had the parking arranged for them in the Barnett Street carpark for 24 hours through a tour package.

Lions fans had the parking arranged for them in the Barnett Street carpark for 24 hours through a tour package. Photo: RNZ

Usually it costs $30 to park in the Barnett Street carpark for 24 hours, but for the next few nights rugby fans from the United Kingdom are shelling out about $130 a night.

The parking was arranged by British Lions Travel, as part of a package tour, paid for by fans before they left the UK.

Some $100 of the nightly fee goes to Wellington City Council, which said it was simply covering its costs.

Passionate Welsh Lions fan Timothy O'Donnell said that back home people sometimes paid big prices to stay 35 or 40 miles away in Bristol when going to a game in Cardiff.

 Timothy O'Donnell was happy to pay $130 for the spot.

Timothy O'Donnell was happy to pay $130 for the spot. Photo: RNZ

Given that, he said he was happy to pay $130 a night for a guaranteed spot right in the centre of Wellington.

"The bars are 50 metres that way, a supermarket 50 metres the other way, there are public toilets and they're spotless compared to the ones back home. We can use the swimming pool and sports centre for showers.

"How much does harbour-front property cost here? I'm happy."

Mr O'Donnell said the fan village was also nearby, which was very handy.

On the other side of a barrier in the carpark, Irish Lions supporter Shane Freeman had paid $30 to park his campervan last night.

At least those paying the higher price knew they had a guaranteed spot, he said, where he had to take pot luck and park wherever he could.

Wellington's Regional Economic Development Agency acting head Derek Fry said the organisation was approached by the British travel company, which wanted to arrange convenient parking for its tour group.

He said the $100 the council received meant there was no financial burden on ratepayers and it covered the cost of arrangements put in place for the tourists.

"[There is] 24-hour security, a downtown location, the toilets at Te Papa have been opened for longer hours and hot water [is available]."

Mr Fry said there was an added benefit for those paying to stay in Cable Street on the waterfront.

"They have a special licence so they can have a wee dram in their campervan in the evening, because they're actually in the no-go alcohol zone."

Mr Fry said the fee charged in Wellington was similar to what Alexandra Park is charging in Auckland - and it is much closer to the stadium than Alexandra Park is to Eden Park.

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