Auckland Transport wants to raise parking fines to deter repeat offenders

Auckland's transport authority is keen to hike parking fines in a bid to combat repeat offenders, including one driver who got more than 200 parking tickets in one year.

Parking fines haven't gone up since they were set in Government regulations in 1999, and they are the same across the country, ranging from $12 to a maximum of $57.

In urban areas, it could be cheaper to pay a fine than to park legally. For example, all-day parking in the Civic Car Park building in Auckland's CBD had gone from $7 in 1999 to $24 today. 

"It is likely that the level of the infringement fees are no longer an incentive to comply with parking restrictions," Auckland Transport's group manager, parking services and compliance, John Strawbridge, said.

With the increase in parking rates, there had been an observed increase in non-compliance with on-street parking restrictions, he said.

In 2015, an AT study found up to 50 per cent of overstay infringement notices were issued to recidivist offenders, meaning vehicles that received more than five infringements of the same type in a year. This included the one vehicle that received more than 200 overstaying-type fines in a year.

Strawbridge pointed to overseas examples of higher fees reducing the number of motorists who broke the rules.

The infringement fee for parking over the time limit in Westminster, London was £80 (NZ$154), and they achieved around 98 per cent compliance. The parking in New South Wales, Australia was $108 (NZ$116) and they also reported very high compliance.

Strawbridge supported the NZ Parking Association's proposal to the Ministry of Transport in 2016, which suggested tripling the cost of fines.

Currently, overstaying in a car park for more than 30 minutes incurred a $15 fine, the parking association mooted bumping this up to $50.

The towage fee set under the Government regulations had also remained static for many years, Strawbridge said.

"Tow companies have been increasing their charges regularly and consequently many councils and Auckland Transport now lose money every time they tow a vehicle."

Despite the levels of non-compliance, AT was still proposing to introduce time restrictions for on-street parking and parking meters in suburban streets around North Shore Hospital.

 - Stuff