A few weeks ago, I wrote about how it’s time to update parking fines. The maximum fines allowed are defined in legislation and are so outdated that they’ve been unchanged for nearly a quarter of a century.

Because infringements are set at a national level, the existing low level of fines is particularly bad for cities like Auckland where the demand for parking and the impact of inconsiderate parking is much higher.

Had fines kept pace with inflation, they would be around 80% higher than they are today, something like this:

As a quick comparison I looked at a few places over in Australia to see how we compare

  • In New South Wales fines start at A$117 ($129) and for some offences can go as high as A$704 ($774) and in some cases also result in demerit points. For example, parking within 10m of an intersection or on/near a pedestrian crossing would result in a A$352 ($387) fine and 2 demerit points.
  • Victoria’s fines range from A$92 to A$185.
  • In Brisbane fines range from A$71 up to A$575. Again using the example of parking to close to an intersection or pedestrian crossing the fine in Brisbane would be A$287.

We weren’t the only ones calling for an increase in fines either, with Mayor Wayne Brown saying they should start at around $100.

Auckland’s mayor wants to lift the city’s parking fines to around $100, saying the current fines are far too low.

Wayne Brown also suggested people who use mobility parks without a permit deserved a punishment that could not be measured in dollars.

The current fines were set in the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999, and can be as little as $12.

“They want us all to reduce car use, but it’s only a $12 parking fine in Auckland if you’re not paying,” Brown told Checkpoint on Friday.

The council are even looking to develop a bill to submit to parliament hoping to get this changed.

Auckland council intends to develop a local bill to address issues like its inability to set higher parking fines, mayor Wayne Brown says. As it stands, roading control authorities like Auckland Transport can’t set fines higher than those prescribed in the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999.


“The mayor believes that the law should give Auckland council the power to locally address car parking issues – including the power to set parking fines and enforce parking bans on berms” Speaking generally, the intent of the draft bill or bills was to put Auckland back in control of the local transport system, the spokesman said.

We knew the Ministry of Transport had issues with updating parking regulations on its agenda, but it turns out the blocker was the government. The Spinoff reports that the ministry recommended consultation on parking and fee levels and a process to regularly update them – but that they were blocked by associate transport minister Kiri Allan.

However, Allan chose not to do this, opting to instead open consultation only on technical updates to road rules. That meant the package of proposed changes prepared by the Ministry of Transport hasn’t yet made it any further than the minister’s desk.

A spokesperson for the government confirmed to The Spinoff that work on the review had now been halted. “The Ministry of Transport has started a review of parking offences and penalties. This review is currently on hold as the government’s focus is on addressing the cost of living and responding to recent severe weather events,” they said.

“Increasing infringement fees is not something the government is considering right now. This is not the time to impose additional costs on people when they are dealing with cost of living pressures.”

Officials had warned the government that choosing not to do anything about parking penalties could have consequences. “De-prioritisation or termination of this work could exacerbate existing pressure on the integrity of the parking system,” they wrote. “For example, with fewer and fewer people opting to pay for their parking, the ability of the system to fairly and efficiently allocate scarce parking resources will continue to be undermined.”

This could in turn lead to worsening outcomes for “safety, equitable access, economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and overall efficiency of the transport system”.

This is such an absurd reason. Illegal parking is not a core service, so shouldn’t be considered a cost of living issue. There’s also a really easy way to avoid any extra costs: parking properly and paying the correct parking costs. Updating these is especially important because, as the Ministry notes, not doing so has a lot of negative impacts throughout society.

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  1. Car worm brain affects so many important decisions.

    Was Minister Allan provided with advice about the effect of illegal parking on people with disabilities, on children’s independence, on driving culture, on modeshift and on climate? If so, and she ignored it, she’s acting unethically. If she wasn’t, her advisors were acting unethically.

    The bigger problem is a system that allows for individuals ignorant on a subject to be able to stop improvements that improve on human rights.

    This isn’t democracy. Democracy requires informed decision-making.

    1. The only effect parking has on climate is positive. When vehicles are parked, they are not creating emissions.
      You really do have issues that need professional help when it comes to your irrational hatred of the motor vehicle.

      1. Welcome to another episode of “useless establishment boomer fails to understand induced demand nor the vast body of evidence that shows using cars as the main transit mode in cities is bad for the environment, bad for communities, bad for land use, bad for the economy.

        with dickheads like henry calling the shots it’s no wonder humanity deserves extinction. finally the egotistical selfish gits responsible for fucking over the planet will face the consequences of their actions. go broke and choke, mate.

        1. No one is ever going to ban the motor vehicle. ICE vehicles will continue to be used for years to come and they all will be parked somewhere.
          This chat room seems to be populated with people that don’t understand climate science, economics, or maths (most people you engage with were born after 1964).
          While I agree with the point that parking fines have not kept up with inflation, the point is lost in the laughter when normal people read comments linking this to human rights and climate change.

        2. like i said, go broke and choke. you will suffer for your rampant pollution and ignorance of the harm your consumerist mentality has wrought on the environment we depend on to survive. just wait and see, i hope it brings you great pain when the food shortages and famines kick in in earnest, when the ancient viruses released from the melting permafrost cripple us worse than covid, when the ocean becomes starved of oxygen. You all will pay and suffer, as you deserve.

  2. ‘Scarce parking resources’, complete myth.

    Parking isn’t scarce, just free parking right at the door of the place you want to visit.

    Just one more lane…just one more car park….

  3. Dump the Act. One sentence replacement something like this: all territorial local authorities shall have the power to impose parking maxima times and to impose fines for exceeding those times according to amounts which be be altered from time to time.

  4. Obviously an election year,when politicians run scared,by Kiri’s metric,the fuel tax relief should be remained as this has” imposed additional costs on people facing cost of living pressure”.
    Who would have thought that “fines/ infringement costs” were part of an every day budget,this seems like high powered approval for law breaking.

  5. We seem to be in a time of “can kicking down the road” where urgent (cost of living) trumps important (climate change). The future price will be higher as a consequence and actions will be harder to take.
    Where is real leadership when you need it?

    1. The Greens have actually gone *down* in recent polls. That, sadly, is your answer. People don’t vote for real leadership unless tricked into it.

      1. tricked? or informed?

        For democracy to work, our expert organisations should be demonstrating, informing, with experts behaving according to their codes of ethics, keeping abreast of developments in their field.

        New Zealand has been a quagmire of the opposite. We’ve had a dearth of ethical practice from the experts, which has cemented the lack of political leadership.

      2. The Greens have gone down because the Greens are run by activists like the British Labour Party. As soon as the party starts to get popular a small group of plonkers go out of their way to ruin things. Look at how the Greens deselected their co-leader and made him run again unopposed. Net result is the Greens don’t get to govern, and neither does the the British Labour Party despite the Tories being terrible.

      3. The Greens’ weakness is also their strength. Their membership. They are a member-led party. Pretty much the only party like that. Unfortunately, the membership comes up with crazy stuff and over time has lost the traditional hippy tree-hugger communists and gained ignorant social-justice activists. The dysfunctional membership is why the Greens will never be seen as a viable governing force.

  6. Berm parking really needs a review from local authorities. With all the wet weather Auckland has seen over this year thus far, mud is being tracked onto footpaths and roads, and grassed areas are being turned into mud pools.
    All that dirt being washed into stormwater pipes will be a costly headache for another Council department, plus the negative effects silt/runoff has in the harbours.

    1. Yes to this. Even if the parking rates didn’t go up we should be looking at preventing parking where it does damage.

  7. How about adopting Singapore’s FINE system for rubbish
    The amount of rubbish on breaks,Roadsides in Auckland is atrocious
    Let alone the Motorways that are beyond atrocious, and dangerous, the state of them is
    disgusting we are New Zealand not a third world country!
    Motorways,green growing mould,bottles,rubbish, bits of tyres,etc
    Who cleans them and the charges??

  8. Cost of Living probably doesn’t affect the majority of those who park illegally judging by the vehicle types I see infringing around where I live.

    Having spent a year living in Sydney, they are absolutely ruthless. As the local government knows there, it’s worth it to police infringements so they resource properly (lots of wardens) to gather all that easy revenue.

    1. And all these decision-makers preventing necessary reform due to “the Cost of Living” don’t seem to have considered what “the Cost of Living” is going to be in 10, 20, 30 years without those necessary reforms.

      We deserve better than this.

  9. “Cost of Living” is just another way of saying “Policies that we think will get us re-elected”…

  10. I think we should be providing bouquets and thanks to the Ministry of Transport for doing the right thing and completing the work to get this inequity addressed. That the political level decided not to implement the recommendations isn’t the fault of the ministry.

    We’re quick to display our displeasure around shoddy work, but we also need to acknowledge the good work they do.

  11. We are in a climate change emergency, car operators seem to largely be ignorant, or at least happy to let other people worry about the end of the world. Ensuring that they at least can be tidy with where they leave their machines seems the least we could ask. In my view, no one has the right to park on the road, we all pay for the road, so that we all can move. Stationary objects should not impede that movement, unless they are big concrete blocks that prevent cars from running over my children!

  12. Now waiting for National and Act to come out “tough on crime” and *promise* to make these changes to penalties as soon as they are elected.

  13. Tangentially related to this, what happened to the proposed LTA(?) changes that would give more vulnerable users priority over turning traffic at intersections? From memory the consultation was open around 2021

  14. I know lots of people that park without paying and just risk getting a fine, as he chances of getting caught are low and it works out cheaper.
    Similarly there are those that pay for minimum time, with the fine for going overtime being lower.
    I’ve known people doing this for at least 10 years.
    Just like congestion charging, the government needs to act.

  15. Yep, problem in CHCH too. There’s a new peak hour bus lane I go past everyday, and the tow truck is out most evenings. People would rather risk the occasional 60$ fine than park round the corner and walk 100m. Tow truck comes you just dash outside and move your car. On a busy Friday night the bus lane can be completely full with parked cars just after 5pm.

    The 60 minute parking outside my work is regularly occupied all day. I don’t think the council can afford to bother collecting such small fines.

  16. Government logic: increase parking fines first times in years – no thank you, offenders are struggling. Double PT prices – let’s do it! Pathetic

  17. Parking in a bus lane is $60, but driving in one is $150! It should be at least the same, if not more.

  18. I really don’t understand why changing fines needs consultation, like seriously? What other types of fines are set by public consultation? None.

    Also its not a cost a living thing, I drive regularly, I have never received a parking fine in my life. If there isn’t parking out front, I park further away, not on the footpath or yellow lines. It’s totally voluntary.

    I do however, think that demerits should be thrown in, otherwise people are going to “risk it” over paying for parking or finding a proper park, and/or those with so much money that they don’t care – will just continue to offend regardless of the price.

    Pricing should also perhaps also be means tested, because it may completely wipe out a beneficiary, whilst being a bit of a sting on the middle-class, meanwhile being merely worth a sigh from a richer a person. So really its only effective against the middle-class.

    But I think in the meantime, just level them with inflation, there is nothing untoward about that, it’s basically just time travelling back to 1999, when they meant something.

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