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Taxing the ill

DHBs charging millions for patients to park

web_image.jpgOur new briefing paper on public hospital parking charges reveals that District Health Boards are raking in nearly $15 million per year in parking charges at New Zealand’s public hospitals.

The information has been compiled from Official Information Act requests shows that more than $44 million has been levied since the 2012/13 financial year. The Paper shows that of the twenty DHBs, seven (Northland, Hutt Valley, Mid-Central, Capital & Coast, Auckland, Waitemata and Waikato) charge patients for parking at one or more of their hospitals.

Taxpayers have already paid for the construction of the hospital and the car park. Why must they pay twice when they are unfortunate enough to have to make use of the facilities? Talk about kicking someone when they are down.

Parking taxes at hospitals punish those who are ill and may well be on benefits. The last thing that a patient should have to worry about if they are attending for treatment is whether there is going to be a penalty notice waiting for them when they return to their vehicle. Often patients won’t know how long their treatment will last and therefore how much to put in the meter.

While modest charges may make sense in large city hospitals where good public transport is available, we think for places like Northland, where patients often travel considerable distances, hospital parking fees are are a nasty revenue gathering tool which should be abolished.

When New Zealanders are ill or suffering from a family emergency, the last thing they should have to worry about is whether or not they have enough spare change for the DHB's car park.

View the paper below, or download here.

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