Anger at towies in Kumeu village
A retired couple is seeing red over parking penalties in Kumeu.
It cost Helen and Clyde Mitchell a week's pension - $280 - to get their car back after it was towed from the village car park last month.
The Kumeu residents of 25 years want reimbursement and say they will now shop elsewhere.
They say their car was towed after 7pm when more than half the businesses were closed for the day.
They'd gone for a stroll up the road to view new road works and planned to check their mailbox and buy dinner at the village on their return.
But they got back to find their car gone and called police to report it stolen. They learned the vehicle had been towed to Grey Lynn and paid a $280 fee to retrieve it. They say they've heard similar tales of woe.
A spokesman for Kumeu Village says he asked the towing company in December to put a hold on towing but received no response.
"There is a problem but we're trying to find solutions," says the man who does not want to be named.
"In a few weeks we will put something concrete in place, then we will go from there and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Kumeu Village committee member Molly Whittington says she has contacted Auckland Towing and is also unhappy with current practice.
"It doesn't fit with the relaxed friendly culture of Kumeu at all so I am glad the majority of Kumeu Village shopkeepers have voted against towing."
Auckland Towing Co director Antony Ashford says the Mitchells were towed because they locked and left their car, donned a backpack and walked north up Highway 16.
He says towing was instigated because the area is used by some as a park and ride or carpooling facility.
This is unfair for those who pay to maintain it and rely on parking being available for their clients, he says.
"It appears to me that these people have blatantly neglected the clear car park rules and then become upset when they got caught."
Mr Ashford says towaways occur less frequently outside of Auckland's CBD but expects the practice will increase as the city expands.
"Until the situation at Kumeu Village gets sorted and people continue to disregard the rules, monitoring of the car park will probably need to continue."