AA slams double-dipping for single parking offences
The New Zealand Automobile Association has challenged the Palmerston North City Council to stop the "unfair" practice of ticketing motorists twice for the same parking incident.
The double-dipping happens when a motorist overstays their paid parking time on a metered space, then gets another ticket if they also stay beyond the P120 or other time restriction.
AA principal adviser on regulation Mark Stockdale said a district court ruling had cast doubt on the legality of the practice in Wellington, where about 4000 motorists a year were stung with dual fines.
"We believe all city councils who double dip should review their policies in light of the judgment, and in light of AA's view that it is unfair."
But he said regardless of whether the practice could be defended in law, the public thought it was morally wrong.
It was seen as revenue-gathering that did nothing to encourage compliance or turnover in parking spaces, he said.
Palmerston North City Council acting head of parking services Michelle Wolfsbauer confirmed double tickets are regularly issued here.
She said they were two separate offences, and the infringements were policed lawfully.
Roading manager Graeme Tong said he was not aware of any public resistance to the practice, and it was not an issue that was on the agenda to be considered in a comprehensive parking management plan due to be completed early next year.
"The plan is more about the structure of parking provision and time limits than enforcement."
But at least two councillors said the council should consider its policies following the Wellington issue and the criticism from the AA.
Deputy mayor Jim Jefferies, who succeeded in having the unpopular $40 fine for failing to activate the meter correctly reduced to $12 from December, said he had not heard that double-ticketing was a problem.
"But in terms of the basic principle of whether it's fair, I rather think it should be one or the other."
Cr Adrian Broad, who was on a parking issues working party earlier this year, said the matter had not arisen then, but now the AA had drawn attention to it, a review should be on the agenda.
He said the city needed a parking strategy that was acceptable and friendly for local people and visitors to the city.
"I believe this issue raised by the AA cannot be ignored by councillors when we are asked to approve the parking strategy early in 2014."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you agree with increased oil exploration?