Timaru District traffic infringment notices decrease under lockdown



The number of Timaru District parking infringement notices issued decreased dramatically during lockdown, with the council potentially missing out on up to $105,821 in fines.


From March 1 to April 30, the number of Timaru District Council parking tickets issued was down from 1546 in 2019, to 353 in 2020 as the council stopped issuing infringement notices when the country went into level four, in line with government lockdown restrictions.


Those tickets amounted to a cost in fines of$25,908 in 2019. During the same period this year the total was $6687 - a difference of $19,221.

When it came to infringement notices related to Warrant of Fitnesses, or registrations, 599 were issued by the council's traffic wardens during March and April, 2019, with fines totalling $119,800. For the same period this year 166 tickets were issued with fines totalling $33,200 - a difference of $86,600.

Parking infringement notices were not a revenue gathering exercise and the council planned for financial fluctuations, Timaru District Council general manager environment Tracy Tierney said.

When the country went into alert level 3 on April 28 parking wardens began issuing reminder notices in an effort to curb all-day parkers.

“For long-term activities such as parking we look at things over a long period of time, so although there may be a deficit in one year it can be recouped over future years without any significant changes in levels of enforcement."

Tierney said the council needed to be "flexible and responsive in extreme times".

"Indeed we are missing some income voluntarily by temporarily removing parking charges from the library park to help stimulate the CBD economy,” she said.

She said the council did not rely on income from traffic infringement notices.

“Only ensuring that the costs of parking such as running enforcement services and providing and maintaining parking facilities is covered by the people that use them."

She said one of the key roles of the parking enforcement team was to keep traffic moving in the central business district to support local businesses.

"Infringements are just part of a larger parking activity where the income and expenditure streams change year to year and are managed accordingly.”