$50k parking fines: A lifestyle choice

06:29, Jul 11 2013
HORSE AND CART: Lewis Stanton parked in Nelson's Hardy Street, with his horse Barney and a cart and trailer.

Nelson vagrant Lewis Stanton has been issued more than $50,000 in parking infringements and has "absolutely no intention" of paying them.

The Nelson City Council has referred over $30,000 of the fines to the Ministry of Justice for collection.

Stanton keeps a running total of the fines he has clocked up since December 21 in a notebook.

Lewis Stanton
PAPERWORK: The notebook Stanton uses to record his fines and donations.

He was issued tickets for $600 on Monday and $1380 last week.

Monday's fines included $200 for no warrant of fitness on his trailer, $200 for operating an unlicensed motor vehicle and $200 for not having registration plates affixed in the prescribed manner.

Stanton, who is not on a benefit, records in a separate notebook the amount of money he gets in "donations" from the public. Last week he said he got $74.20 or about $1.65 an hour.


Lewis Stanton
LEWIS STANTON: Has no intention of paying his parking fines.

Stanton said he would not be paying the tickets because his horse and cart did not fit the legal definition of what a motorised vehicle was under the Land Transport Act. Nor did his trailer need to be warranted or registered.

"My trailer is not pulled by a motorised vehicle."

Stanton and his brown horse, Barney, regularly park on Bridge St, where Barney, his cart and trailer take up two parks.

He has been in a long running stoush with Nelson City Council, and heads back to court with the council on July 25. He is appealing an injunction that the city council issued against him which prevents him from offering rides at Tahunanui in his horse and cart without a concession.

He does not believe he needs the licence that other businesses operating from Tahunanui require because he is not a business.

"I'm not a business. I'm simply a lifestyle."

Stanton staged a one man protest against the council and its freedom camping rules last year by sitting outside Farmers' store on Trafalgar St.

In November, his conviction for obstructing the footpath in Trafalgar St was overturned by the High Court.

Since then he's been in further battles with the council over where he can camp with Barney.

A Nelson City Council spokeswoman said Mr Stanton had been issued fines totalling $50,690. They were for a range of infringements, including no parking permit, no warrant of fitness, no number plate, no licence label (registration) and over the condition of tyres.

Currently $33,940 is overdue for payment and has been lodged with the court for collection.

The spokeswoman said all unpaid fines were referred to the Ministry of Justice for collection. Non payment of fines could result in arrest.

Asked if the tickets would continue to be given to Mr Stanton even though they failed to be a deterrent, the spokeswoman said council officers were obligated to issue fines when they saw infringements.

"The reaction of the recipient to the fines has no bearing on council's obligation to issue them," she said.

The council is scheduled to discuss a report around the issue of Stanton's freedom camping next Thursday.

The Nelson Mail