Free parking created 'huge boom' for Nelson CBD

Free parking created 'huge boom' for Nelson CBD

After vandals wrecked its parking meters, the small Welsh town of Cardigan had a shopping boom due to the free parking.

That got many thinking - if parking was free in New Zealand, would we see a surge in strip shopping?

A year ago, Nelson's council introduced free parking in its CBD for a month and it had such a positive reaction that they extended that period indefinitely.

Nelson Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dot Kettle this morning joined Paul Henry, saying that even though it is a challenging time for the "seasonal town", the free parking helped "create more energy in the city".

She describes it as a "gift to the residents".

"Parking time limits do still apply, but you have an hour's grace to do what you need to do," says Ms Kettle. "There has been a huge boom with 60 percent growth in turnover for foot traffic and in revenue".

Watch the video for the full interview with Dot Kettle.