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Parkers pinged for $113K

Between July 1 last year and Wednesday this week [May 22], the parking enforcement officers of Masterton District Council [MDC] issued 3756 parking fines that had a combined value of $113,973 – although an MDC spokesperson insists the infringement notices are not a revenue-generating exercise.

During that same period, 356 infringements with a total value of $17,245 were cancelled.

Meanwhile, in the previous full financial year – July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023 – 3754 parking tickets were issued by MDC enforcement officers, with a total value of $120,060.

For this period, 333 fines with a combined value of $16,114 were withdrawn.

Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, 3551 parking tickets with a total value of $108,263 were issued. Of these, 300 tickets with a total value of $15,349 were cancelled.

An MDC spokesperson told the Times-Age that parking tickets can be cancelled for a number of reasons, including but not limited to “explanations accepted and issuing errors”.

As an example of an explanation that succeeded in getting a fine revoked, the spokesperson referenced the case of “a man who was acting as Santa outside Farmers one Christmas and didn’t realise there was a two-hour parking limit for his sleigh”.

“The infringement was cancelled after an emotional plea from Mr Claus.”

Another person “successfully argued that they had to park further away from the kerb than was permitted because they didn’t want their passenger to have to step into a puddle”.

However, trying to explain one’s way out of a parking ticket can backfire, the spokesperson warned.

“One person appealed against the size of his $150 infringement fee for parking in a mobility park.

“The explanation given in court was that they were only going to be five minutes.”

The judge took his statement into consideration and then slapped on a $163 court fee to his fine.

“The judge said that it is not uncommon for people to park in mobility parks, but it is simply not acceptable, noting that mobility parking permits come with a fee,” the spokesperson said.

Currently, there are $76,319 worth of outstanding fines yet to be paid in the current financial year, some of which will have rolled over from previous years.

Despite parking fines worth well north of $300,000 being issued in Masterton since July 1, 2021, the spokesperson said that “parking enforcement is not a revenue-generating exercise.”

“It is carried out for the benefit of other road users, to ensure parking spaces are turned over and available, and people park within lines and park safely.”

In this, it seems MDC has a different philosophy to the region’s other councils – after contacting the Carterton and South Wairarapa councils for parking fine data from their districts, the Times-Age was reminded that “We do not have any parking enforcement in our districts.”

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Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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