Wilson Parking admits issuing tickets to cars in free central Wellington car park
They're the hidden car parks that no-one appeared to own – but that didn't stop a parking company from issuing tickets for using them.
Wilson Parking has admitted it handed out two tickets to a campervan in the tiny car park in central Wellington, despite having no authority over the space.
There are five marked spaces in the car park, which is directly in front of a Wilson Parking lot on Karo Dr, but is not owned by the company.
The little patch of land, on the inner-city bypass near the top of Cuba St, has long been a hidden gem for those wanting to park for free in the central city.
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When Stuff visited the site on Monday, there were six cars there, all without proof of parking payment. None had been ticketed.
One of them belongs to Shane Leach, who has been parking his motorhome there since November. "It's all private parking. There's absolutely no signage at all to say otherwise," he said.
He was first given a $114 ticket by Wilson Parking in February. After he called the company to point out it had no authority over the car park, his infringement notice was waived.
Then he got a second ticket in April, which he quickly disputed, only to be told his argument was "invalid" and the associated fine would be passed to a debt collector.
"It's bully tactics. They don't want to know you, they just want your money," he said.
After Stuff began asking questions, Wilson said the second notice would also be waived, and it had clarified in April that the marked parks "do not fall in the area which we operate".
It had not issued any breach notices since then, communications manager Anne-Marie Petersen said.
Stuff's inquiries have shown the land belongs to Wellington City Council, which said the issue was "quite complicated".
"This part of Kensington St was severed by the construction of the inner-city bypass. It is a legal road and therefore remains a council transport (roading) asset."
AA senior policy analyst Mark Stockdale was pleased Wilson had admitted fault in issuing the breach notices to Leach, but said it was an issue the company needed to address internally.
"It's disappointing that employees of the company have been issuing these breach notices in error, but we're pleased that they have now been withdrawn, as they should be."
His advice to any motorists who had been ticketed in the same area was to go back to Wilson and ask it to "compensate them for their mistake".
"Understand your rights, have a look for signage and, if you think there wasn't any, or it was unclear about terms and conditions, then appeal the notice," he said.