Stanton refuses to pay parking fines
Nelson's maverick horse and cart man Lewis Stanton has once again fallen foul of officialdom, running up a fistful of parking fines over the past few weeks.
And in typically defiant form he has told the Nelson Mail that he has "absolutely no intention of paying them whatsoever", setting the scene for a further brush with the justice system.
Mr Stanton, who has adopted the name Hone Ma Heke, has taken to parking his horse Barney, cart and sometimes an attached trailer in the city centre. He hasn't been paying for the privilege - and retailers have been complaining to the city council.
Network services executive manager Alec Louverdis said on Friday that Mr Stanton had been issued with six infringement notices. Because there is a time allowance in which to pay, he could not say if Mr Stanton would settle up.
"If he doesn't, we will follow the normal process - the courts, or whatever needs to be followed."
Mr Louverdis said a number of retailers had complained to the council, saying that Mr Stanton's presence deterred shoppers and that he was occupying much-needed parking spaces.
However, if he paid for his parking, he would be treated the same as any other car park user.
"If a campervan occupies two or three parking spots, they have to pay for two or three - we're just applying a consistent rule across the board."
There had been no complaints about deposits from the rear end of the horse and in that respect Mr Stanton was "being a responsible owner".
Although some businesses had made it clear they did not want him to park in the city, "from our side we don't discriminate against him being able to drive his horse and cart into the town as long as he abides by the rules that dictate how other people live".
Mr Louverdis said he understood police had also issued Mr Stanton with an infringement notice related to a parking or traffic offence before Christmas, but Nelson Bays area commander Steve Greally said he wasn't aware of that.
Tickets issued by parking wardens were a matter between the council and Mr Stanton, Mr Greally said.
Mr Stanton has been seen parked in Bridge St and Montgomery Square in recent days, offering rides for "a donation". Late yesterday afternoon his horse and cart were parked in the Fresh Choice car park off Collingwood St. He has been seen posing for photographs with his parking tickets laid out in a row on the seat of his cart.
He told the Mail that he had accumulated 10 tickets and wouldn't be paying.
He doubted that "under statute law" the parking rules applied to him, and in any case he earned much less than $3 an hour, "and yet they're still trying to tax me".
"The council probably owes me something like the $400,000 mark and I'm buggered if I'm going to be paying for something just to keep them happy. They're playing a money game. What about the realities of what this society is creating?"
In November last year Mr Stanton's conviction for obstructing the footpath in Trafalgar St was overturned by the High Court. He had sat on the footpath for 16 months in protest against the city council's free camping rules.
Since then he's been in further battles with the council over where he can camp with Barney. He has called the council an old boys' club.