A petition for an hour's free parking in New Zealand hospitals is gaining traction with more than 12,000 signatures.
It comes after Palmerston North Hospital gave Wilson Parking a five-year contract to cover a further 250 carparks, earning the hospital potentially $500,000 in fees annually.
The petition wants to "force parking companies such as privately owned Middlemore Hospital Parking [to] lower their prices for visitors, free parking for patients, support people, and all staff."
Karen Naylor from the Mid-Central District Health Board told The AM Show a practical solution needs to be found for people at such a vulnerable time.
"I've never been in favour of charging people at hospital in the first place, but it's with us and probably here to stay so I'm trying to look at ways we can reduce or minimise that stress."
Establishing one hour's free parking would alleviate some of the pressure, she says.
"Recently there's 30 minutes free, we've looked at putting that up to 40 minutes and I think there's about $30,000-$40,000 lost revenue.
"There's mixed support at the moment and that's something I'll be pursuing at our next board meeting in April," she says.