Airport park moan

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A North Island operator claims Queenstown Airport’s parking policy makes it too hard for it to fly in affluent clients.

Wellington-based Nine Yards Safaris has asked the airport if it can park a car for a few weeks a year between escorting clients to Queenstown.

The airport responds its only overnight parking is for members of the public and its commercial carpark is just for pick-ups and drop-offs.

“I think this is something your local businesses should be made aware of,” Nine Yards Safaris co-owner Lee O’Connor says.

“For goodness’ sake, we’re a New Zealand operator trying to bring affluent tourists into your region.

“If Queenstown’s going to make it this hard to do business, we’re not going to actively encourage our clients to go to Queenstown.”

O’Connor says now her hunting safari business has extended its operations to Canterbury and Otago, it had planned encouraging guests to add a Queenstown experience onto their South Island hunt.

It’s likely more clients will now be flown in and out of Christchurch, O’Connor says.

The ban on overnight commercial vehicle parking hasn’t occurred anywhere else, she adds.

“Taupo airport’s free – I’m not expecting it for free but that’s really easy.”

O’Connor says she’s been unsuccessful finding overnight parking near Queenstown Airport.

Airport boss Scott Paterson says: “The big beef seems to be we allow parking in our public carpark overnight, we don’t allow parking in the commercial carpark. It’s a question of space.”

Paterson says it’s also a question of fairness.

“If you want to run a business using this terminal, we charge you to run your business out of our terminal.

“There are other parties in town running commercial businesses that operate around the arrangements that we have,” Paterson says.

“We’re not running a business model that meets their needs, I apologise.”

Paterson adds overnight commercial parking is available near the airport at Lucas Place and Tex Smith Lane.

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