Editorial: Public has right to know of parking perk

MATHEW GROCOTT - DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF
Last updated 14:05 01/12/2012

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OPINION: Opponents of Palmerston North's Frog Parking system are livid at the revelation that some of Manawatu's movers and shakers do not have to feed the meters.

Details of the 67 exemptions Palmerston North City Council has issued to about 40 people are revealed in today's Standard.

Among those able to use the exemptions are city councillors, mayors and chief executives from around the region, senior council staff and MPs, while organisations such as Massey University, MidCentral DHB and Vision Manawatu also have exemptions.

No doubt the revelations will add further fuel to the contentious parking issues in the city which have been discussed almost daily in the opinion pages of this paper.

Mayor Jono Naylor defended the exemptions, saying they had been pared down from more than 100 several years ago.

"The rationale is to enable people to go about their business on behalf of the council," he said.

There is certainly merit in the mayor's argument - imagine a council meeting where most of those present had to duck out every two hours to feed the meter.

But that is not to say that those upset by the perk are wrong to feel annoyed by its existence.

The publication of details about these exemptions was not made to denigrate those who have the exemptions, or as a criticism of the system.

Rather it was done to shine a light on an element of Palmerston North's parking set-up that many of our readers were likely in the dark about.

Not everyone eligible for free parking has the card that entitles them to it, and how much it is used by those who do have the cards is unknown.

In the end it will be down to individual residents to decide whether they think the exemptions are fair or not.

Eight banks in New Zealand deserve to be congratulated for stepping up to help teachers trapped in the omnishambles that is the Novopay payroll system.

Problems with the Education Ministry's new payroll system have led to thousands of teachers being paid incorrectly or not at all. Some have reported being unable to meet mortgage payments or falling behind on hire purchase or credit card debt as a result of the cashflow squeeze.

Hopefully this latest move takes some pressure off teachers.

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- Manawatu Standard

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