Free parking just for some
Parking exemptions aren't that easy to come by in Timaru - unlike some other districts where everyone from the local MP to neighbouring mayors get to park free.
The majority of parking exemptions district-wide are for residents who apply for free parking once they turn 80. The scheme was introduced in 1991 and since then 3137 "over 80" exemption cards have been issued, although it was unclear how many of those cards were still active as they were seldom returned, Timaru District Council environmental services manager Rick Catchpowle said.
The council provided parking exemption cards for the mayor, chief executive and councillors for use when they were on council business, but it did not provide parking exemptions to council managers or former mayors.
Yet some councils don't believe in giving the mayor, ex-mayors, councillors and senior staff a parking exemption permit - they think they should have two apiece. Palmerston North residents and businesses have been outraged to learn of such generosity on the parking front.
There are 67 exemptions in that district, including the two local MPs, mayors and chief executives of neighbouring councils.
Some council-controlled organisations, tertiary organisations, Chamber of Commerce, Defence Force and the local health board are all issued with one or two exemption permits while some visitors to the council also qualify.
And while, by Timaru standards, the Palmerston North list might seem long, it is a lot shorter than it was a few years ago when there were more than 100 exemption permits on offer in the town, Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor said.
- The Timaru Herald