Parking still the hot topic

 The New Plymouth District Council were a bit upset that I had overestimated the cost of their new parking system.

While it may not have been the $3 million that I had figured, based on 9000 discs, it is still massive at more than $500,000 for around 1500 parking spaces.

The most disappointing aspect of this new parking venture though, is how often the council refer to "parking enforcement".

While parking legally can cost $2 an hour - for now - each space is now capable of reaping far greater benefits by way of fines.

Parking enforcement officers will now be able to swoop on those who transgress with much greater speed and efficiency. I know the easy answer is not to transgress, but who hasn't got caught up and arrived back a few minutes late, to find that they were lucky enough to beat the meter maid, not any more.

I also wonder how long before any of the roads with these discs on will require resealing, along with the added cost of removal and replacement of the discs. If the usual timing is there, it will be very soon, because its amazing how often after streets are resealed, that someone else digs them up again.

While on the subject of parking enforcement, I see that our local clamper, Mr Clout, has been getting the odd clout in letters and articles. Once again, the key is not to transgress. But the level of fines in this case is ridiculous, because it's bad enough to find your car clamped and worse to than find that the guy wants $120 to remove it.

Is it any wonder that people will attempt to remove them, even going as far as replacing wheels, or get involved in verbal or physical harangues with the clamper?

My other favourite bugbear has been receiving a lot of attention in letters this week, especially with connection to entry charges to Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

I ran into one of the gallery curators, Meredith Robertshawe, in the Snug Lounge the other night, and while we always have a great discussion, I don't think either of us have changed our stance.

Last week I made mention of the rate troubles in the Kaipara District, and I see those problems have got worse, with the revelation that behind closed door decisions may have led to unlawful rates changes.

I was also amazed to find that their debt burden is worse than that of Greece. It is high time that council's cut back on the amount of behind closed doors stuff, and practised a bit more transparency.

Meanwhile, the changeable spring weather continues to make planning for outdoor events difficult. November heralds the start of the wedding season, and as a celebrant, it means outdoor ceremonies, and the hope for fine weather. Saturday was a prime example.

Golf got called off early due to rain, and as I watched darts on television, I also watched our patio and garden gather water, thinking that the afternoon wedding I had at beautiful Ngamamaku Gardens outside Oakura, would be moved indoors.

Fortunately by mid-afternoon the rain stopped and Nerissa and Dean's wedding was able to proceed as planned. It was another first as a celebrant on Sunday, where I presided over a surprise wedding. Shaun proposed to Karen on Friday, having already got the licence and rings. The guests, who thought they were coming to Karen's birthday party, were told just before I arrived, that they were now guests at their wedding.

The ceremony was also broadcast to Shaun's parents in England via "Facetime", another first, but more importantly, love was the winner on the day.