AA says ban wheel clamping

This sign at the entrance of several private carparks informs drivers of the danger of wheel clamping.
CIARA PRATT/FAIRFAX NZ

This sign at the entrance of several private carparks informs drivers of the danger of wheel clamping.

Ban wheel clamping in New Zealand - that's the view of the Automobile Association. 

Calls are being made to ban the practice after drivers in Henderson, west Auckland are being "intimidated" to fork out $200 on the spot when they discover they parked in a private carpark. 

In calls and emails drivers have detailed "intimidating" behaviour, strong language and "pressure tactics" used by staff of Elite Parking Services.

Automobile Association (AA) principle advisor Mark Stockdale says the AA is against the practice and advocates for it to be made illegal. 

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"We would like to see clamping banned. It has been banned in the United Kingdom, and we see no reason why New Zealand should be any different."

Stockdale says the voluntary code of conduct for wheel clamping on private landencourages companies to use a breach notice before any enforcement is used. It clearly discourages the use of a wheel clamp.

"Clamping is a last resort, so if they were meeting standards in line with the code, they wouldn't be clamping."

Property and business owners should also be signatories to the volunteer code or employ other enforcement methods, Stockdale says. 

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"Having a really draconian enforcement practice in place is bad for business.

"If they implemented a parking system that was fair and reasonable, a lot of these problems would go away."

A Henderson landowner of about 60 years, who did not want to be named, owns one of the carparks that has a contract with Elite Parking Services.

He says he agrees with wheel clamping as an effective measure to monitor carparks. 

"Absolutely because they do it once, they never do it again. 

"I don't like it and I can see both sides of the argument but if people stopped to read the signs, they wouldn't get clamped."

He says businesses pay for their carparks and he gets nothing out of it. 

"These people (EPS) have had people threaten to punch their lights out. They are just doing their job. 

"There is a shortage of carparks here. Fundamentally, this has been caused by the council."

A spokesperson for Elite Parking Services would not reveal how many cars are clamped per week in Henderson, nor would they reveal how many carpark contracts they have with businesses in the area saying the information was "commercially sensitive". 

"We are a private company operating on private property in accordance with New Zealand law. The Disputes Tribunal has found our warning signage on properties throughout Henderson to be adequate through dozens of hearings.

"The single best piece of advice is to simply read and abide by this signage, if they (drivers) do so they will never have to deal with us."

Elite Parking Services is owned by Gordon Ward and Karin Busby-Ward of Mangere.

 - Stuff

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