The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Lack of engagement undermines trust says Restaurant Association

Lack of engagement undermines trust says Restaurant Association

The Restaurant Association has expressed deep concern and disappointment over recent revelations regarding Auckland Transport’s unilateral changes to parking charges within the Central City Parking Zone (CCPZ).

“Despite claims by Auckland Transport of attempting to communicate these changes effectively, there has been a lack of direct engagement with impacted stakeholders, including businesses within the CCPZ and their employees which falls far short of acceptable standards,” said Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association.

Hospitality Business approached Auckland Transport for comment on this issue and was advised a statement would be made at 2 pm today, which hasn’t arrived as our e news went out.

In a letter addressed to the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, the Restaurant Association highlights the need for enhanced transparency and accountability within Auckland Transport. The Association urges the Committee to initiate an inquiry into the role, powers, and accountability of Auckland Transport, citing the organisation’s failure to adequately involve stakeholders in decision-making processes.

“As the largest representative body for restaurants and cafés in New Zealand, we are deeply troubled by Auckland Transport’s disregard for meaningful consultation,” stated Bidois. “This lack of engagement undermines the trust between Auckland Transport and the community it serves.

“The introduction of 24/7 parking charges is expected to increase costs for diners wishing to drive into the city, potentially reducing overall patronage to restaurants and cafés.

Additionally, the added financial burden on employees, who often finish work late at night when public transport options are limited, further exacerbates the challenges faced by the industry.

“We foresee a detrimental effect on both businesses and employees within the hospitality sector,” Bidois continued. “The increased costs associated with parking will deter customers and place additional financial strain on employees.”

The Association emphasises the importance of ensuring elected officials and the general public have confidence in Auckland Transport’s operations. An inquiry would provide an opportunity to examine Auckland Transport’s conduct, seek input from a diverse range of stakeholders, and make recommendations to Parliament for improved accountability measures.

“We believe that Auckland Transport has a duty to the community it serves,” Bidois continued. “The current approach is unacceptable, and an inquiry is necessary to address these concerns and restore public trust.”

The Restaurant Association stands ready to provide assistance and further information to the Transport and Infrastructure Committee as it considers whether to launch a formal inquiry.

The Association, along with its local member businesses, is committed to ensuring that the interests of the community are upheld in all decisions related to transportation policy and governance.

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