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 The maximum fines allowed are defined in legislation and are so outdated that they’ve been unchanged for nearly a quarter of a century.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.