"We are delighted to see that Porirua’s Council and Mayor have made the right call and paused the rollout of paid parking in Porirua, due to the Omicron surge and shift to Red," says Hamish Mexted, Porirua Chamber of Commerce Chair.

"Business is under pressure across the board, as customers voluntarily stay home amid the Omicron outbreak. Our members need support from local and central government to get us through such a difficult period, and we are thankful to have received it in Porirua.

"The plan to introduce paid charges for city-centre parking would have piled further pressure and uncertainty on already stressed business. While we retain our broad concerns about the paid parking plan, and its impact on Porirua business, it is particularly important that the changes are held off until the immediate crisis has passed.

"We want to recognise the fact that Porirua City Council is the only Council in the region, so far, who has taken a step of tangible action to address business concerns - even if it is a freeze and will still eventually happen - this is a responsive call to the community’s needs at this time of heightened uncertainty and stress. We encourage other councils and central government to follow suit and support businesses, in the ways they can, through Omicron."