Taxing the Ill Briefing paper on public hospital parking charges
DHB PARKING CHARGES: $44 MILLION IN THREE YEARS When you or a family member is sick and in need of hospital treatment, the last thing on your mind should be whether or not you have enough change for the hospital car park. Yet that it is becoming more common for District Health Boards to charge for car parks – and it seems the parking taxes are proving to be a nice wee earner for DHBs across the country. Our research reveals that the parking costs for hospital patients, their friends, families and those caring for them is around $15 million annually. The Government’s DHBs have collected $44.4 million in only three years. Hospital parking charges exploit a captive market and disproportionately hit those with the most serious medical conditions, clashing with the core values of the public health system. Of the twenty New Zealand DHBs, seven have one or more hospitals which charge patients and hospital visitors for parking. While the majority of DHBs charging for parking exist in the main city centres and surrounds, it is surprising that car-parking charges are spreading to regional centres such as Northland. Northland is a region home to a large number of people from a low socio-economic status, where health outcome issues abound and where median incomes are comparatively low. Being a region whose population is geographically dispersed over a large area means that many people will have to commute significant distances in order to obtain hospital treatment. The statistics exclude Christchurch DHB, which does not currently have car parks for patients. Those attending the DHB’s facilities have to pay the City Council for parking.
Prepared by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union (September 2015)
DHB Auckland Capital & Coast Hutt Valley Mid-‐Central Northland Waikato Waitemata