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Woman's battle to make mobility park abusers pay more

Author
Rebecca Mauger,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Apr 2024, 3:21pm
Claire Dale besides what she says is an often-abused mobility parking space along Main Rd, Katikati.
Claire Dale besides what she says is an often-abused mobility parking space along Main Rd, Katikati.

Woman's battle to make mobility park abusers pay more

Author
Rebecca Mauger,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Apr 2024, 3:21pm

A Katikati woman is leading the charge for harsher fines for mobility parking abuse.

Claire Dale is a mobility parking permit holder and it makes her “blood boil” when she sees drivers taking advantage of the spaces that are clearly for use by those who particularly need them.

Disability parking spaces are marked by yellow lines with a disability logo, or sometimes the whole space is painted blue. The fine for parking in a disability or mobility parking space without a permit is $150.

When mobility parks are taken, permit holders “will drive by”, Dale said.

“People will miss doctors’ appointments if they can’t park close or not do their weekly grocery shopping... if they don’t get a park they will just turn around and go home,” she said.

“It is a human rights issue.”

She presented a petition to Parliament in 2022 for mobility parking fines to be substantially increased, for private carparks (such as shopping centres and supermarkets) to have the same fine and enforcement standards as public roads, and for an educational campaign to commence.

Dale is a permit holder after having a number of operations on her spine throughout her life and she walks with a cane. On “good days” she can park elsewhere but sometimes needs the mobility parks.

Mobility parking advocate Claire Dale hopes "better enforcement and a substantially larger fines are on their way".
Mobility parking advocate Claire Dale hopes "better enforcement and a substantially larger fines are on their way".

She said she regularly saw offending at the local supermarket and at the space in front of the ANZ Bank along Main Rd.

“If people [who abuse the parks] think, ‘I’m just here for a minute, it won’t hurt anyone’... the harm is very real.”

Offending on public roads brings a fine of $150, with a $100 penalty for private carparks.

“I’d like to see that fine standardised to that of public property and $500 is in line with other OECD countries.”

A final report from a select committee came back in November 2023 with the following recommendations:

• Significantly increase, and index to inflation, the fine for illegal parking in mobility parking spaces

• Review current mobility parking requirements and research future needs to ensure appropriate numbers of mobility parks are available

• Consider support for road controlling authorities to develop technology for enforcing mobility parking

• Work with private sector carpark operators to develop a code of practice for enforcing mobility parking

• Consider whether technology being developed for enforcing mobility parking in public parks could also be used by owners of private carparks

• Undertake a public education campaign to improve public understanding of mobility parking

Last month a debate on the matter was held in Parliament.

“At the end of the debate, there was a motion to further the petition. It carried unanimously which means better enforcement and a substantially larger fines are on their way,” Dale said.

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here. 

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