Auckland parking warden celebrated for dishing out 14,000 tickets

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 29 Jul 2020, 6:17PM
New young parking officer is dishing out three times as many infringement notices than his colleagues. (Photo / Kenny Rodger)

Auckland parking warden celebrated for dishing out 14,000 tickets

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 29 Jul 2020, 6:17PM

Auckland's top performing parking officer has handed out at least 5000 more tickets than the next high performer and carried out double the number of tows - and he's only been in the job 13 months.

Auckland Transport says he's handing out the most because he patrols the busy central city beat and is younger so can cover more ground faster.

In the 13 months ending March 31, 2020, the parking warden handed out 14,250 tickets and had 401 vehicles towed - which according to AT works out to about six tickets an hour.

During that time he's earned the agency $744,644.

AT spokesman Mark Hannan said the relatively new parking officer's high results were because he worked around the universities and high and district courts where more people could be found parking on yellow lines and overstaying.

"He probably does twice as many steps around the city as anyone else."

The agency issued between 300,000 and 330,000 tickets over the 13 months, an average of up to 30,000 a month.

The four next top performing parking officers all had much more experience in the job - one has been in the role for more than 25 years.

The second highest performing warden has held the job for seven years and the third has been handing out tickets for 16 years. They each handed out more than 9000 tickets in the past year and each brought in between $530,000 and $540,000 for the council.

The parking officer with 25 years experience - the fourth top performer - handed out 6707 tickets and carried out 25 tows, bringing in $392,491.

In 2016, the Herald reported the Super City's top parking warden was a 65-year-old pensioner who had issued 8747 tickets worth $289,492 in a year.

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said parking enforcement was key to ensuring parking and loading was well managed on the congested CBD streets where parking spaces were scarce.

"The parking strategy in the city is to encourage short-term parking to support business, and ensure that those using loading spaces are actually supporting the businesses they are created to serve - it's a bugbear for businesses when spaces are being taken up by people parking all day. "

The number of tickets issued dipped dramatically for eight weeks while the country was in level three and four as a result of Auckland mayor Phil Goff saying AT would not be prioritising collecting or enforcing parking meters or restrictions during these "extraordinary times".

A mayoral office spokesman said it was common sense that essential transport compliance activities were carried out to ensure public safety and tickets were issued for serious breaches.

AT employs 168 parking officers - but during lockdown operated a skeleton team of just 28 officers to deal with serious complaints.

During lockdown, the council issued 461 tickets - more than a 98 per cent reduction on the approximate 30,000 notices issued in a normal month - for breaches such as parking over a driveway and dangerous parking. Notices were only issued for warrants of fitness and registrations that had expired before January 1, following a government directive.

AA spokesman Mark Stockdale said that although parking wardens should not have been doing normal enforcement during the lockdown, he felt it was reasonable for wardens to respond to complaints from the public such as someone obstructing a driveway or parking in a disabled space near a doctor's surgery or chemist.

"I think the average member of the public would consider that to be reasonable, and necessary if it was preventing essential workers from getting to work, or stopping people from going to the supermarket."

Normal enforcement began again in Auckland on May 28.