Driver convicted for $5000 toll road fines
An Auckland man is the first to be convicted for not paying tolls on the Northern Gateway road after racking up more than $5000 of unpaid fines.
Robert Masaberg, of Snells Beach, was convicted in the North Shore District Court of 20 charges of failing to pay a toll. He was ordered to pay $1156 in fines, as well as court and prosecution costs.
Masaberg did not appear to defend the charges, but the court said it accepted NZ Transport Agency evidence that he repeatedly ignored tolls. He owed $5181 in unpaid tolls and administration fees.
NZTA spokeswoman Celia Patrick said the 20 charges were a "sufficient number to send a clear message to others who actively evade making toll payments".
"Their behaviour is unacceptable to the vast majority of drivers who pay their tolls on time - the NZTA is committed to ensuring that the same rules apply to everyone using the toll road."
Patrick said NZTA now planned to prosecute three other people - one who owes $3780, and the other two who owe smaller amounts - $900 and $500 respectively.
"To do the right thing on behalf of everyone who does pay on time, prosecutions will not only be based on the level of debt but on a driver's behaviour if they repeatedly evade toll payments regardless of how much they owe."
Patrick said since NZTA began its prosecution process, there had been an increase in the number of people paying tolls within the five-day period and other drivers were clearing historical debt.
At the start of July there was $238,000 in unpaid fines, by the end of October $90,000 of this had been paid, she said.
"Tolls collected on the road help to repay the debt incurred to construct the Northern Gateway toll road 10 years earlier than would have been possible without tolling.
"Since it opened in 2009, this section of State Highway 1 has delivered many benefits to drivers in terms of safer travel, time savings, and less wear and tear on vehicles. It is only fair that everyone who enjoys those benefits pays their share for using the highway," she said.
Patrick said about 96.5 per cent of drivers pay on time.