WCC spy car reined in

January 28th, 2012 at 7:48 am by David Farrar

Bronwyn Torrie at Stuff reports:

’s most loathed car will be reined in and reviewed after public outrage.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has ordered a review of the Parkwise spy car after growing pressure for it to be scrapped. It follows a flurry of complaints about unreasonable fines and overzealous operators.

The car will be limited to monitoring school zones – its original purpose – while the review is done.

Hopefully it will stay focused on school zones rather than revenue maximisation.

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16 Responses to “WCC spy car reined in”

  1. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    It would be interesting to know if the original intent of school area monitoring was actually the only intended scope for use or if that was just an excuse to get the car out screwing the ratepayer, on some eco greenie anti-car ticket (pun intended)

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  2. annie (540 comments) says:

    It’s about time they focused on schools. I haven’t seen it near northern suburbs schools for well over a year – and the mummy 4WDs are still happily parking on yellow lines near schools, including up against pedestrian crossings.

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  3. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    Tenix (the head parking contractor) is supposed to be skilled and experienced in this area. One of the skills is effective parking enforcement with the minimum of fuss (like the taxation principle – plucking as many feathers off the goose as possible with the least amount of hissing). They are giving their client bad press – not good. My advise to Tenix is to hire Curia to help get a good feel for the mood of the people.

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  4. redqueen (521 comments) says:

    Out of curiosity, what is all of this ‘outrage’. If the council has zoned parking, then surely the issue is to re-zone if ‘too many’ complaints arise. Having recently complained to WCC about parking on a particularly bad Wellington street, people simply ignore broken yellow lines and park at all times of the day. If a surveillance vehicle stops people breaking the rules, to the detriment of other drivers, then I’m failing to see the problem. If the issue is that the council, and the eco-socialists in charge, are setting up parking arrangements badly, then that can be reviewed. But where the street(s) are simply unsuitable for parking, or there is a need for short-term parking, but people cannot long-term park, then PLEASE, let them enforce the rules.

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  5. flipper (3,847 comments) says:

    If school zone safety is really the goal:
    1. Defiune the zone (50, 100, 150 metres either side)
    2. Is the safety zone on one or both sides of the street?
    3. Better still, follow the exAmple of the Victorian State Givt and introducde 40kph zones outsiude schools, applicable from 8.15am to 9.15am ANDS THEN FROM 21.45 to 3.45pm. (%0 at all otrher times – brilliantly signposted and poliuced on a regulAR Basis)

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  6. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    what is all of this ‘outrage’

    The car would ticket for example a taxi stopped for 30 secs over a driveway while the passenger alighted. The taxi driver would write in and explain that they were doing and WCC would tell them to pay up. That’s one example and there are all sorts of others – e.g. the one which sparked this review.

    Wgtn by comparison to Akld has always been completely OTT with ticketing even before the car arrived. If your average Wellingtonian had knowledge of both approaches they would have demanded change years ago. It’s quite obvious to anyone who does know both approaches that Wgtn has been merely revenue gathering for years. I seem to recall reading it brings them in about $10m p.a. They have literally an army of low paid footsoldiers – I wouldn’t be surprised if they have numerically more even than Akld despite the size difference. That would be good to know.

    Bottom line is, the mayor is only backing down on a minor element of the whole regime: one car. What needs to happen is the entire regime needs changing, but as usual, the politicians take advantage of electoral ignorance and pretend that everything is above board and entirely reasonable and the ignorant electorate just continues bleating and taking it up the arse, like the sheep they truly are, on this issue.

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  7. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Given Wellingtonians regard themselves as politically sophisticated (which I disagree with) it will be interesting to see if they get taken in by the political and media (Dom Post) obfuscation which I guarantee will abound over this issue, or whether they prove me wrong and demonstrate their “sophistication” by seeing straight through the bullshit and demanding, not requesting – demanding, this entire execrable regime is changed.

    What I predict will happen however (and may already be) is that instead, ACC will start ramping it up to eventually match WCC’s “best practice” in this area. As usual, politicians 1, electorate 0 and the sheeple happily bleat away despite the fact nothing changes before or after in terms of parking availability in the respective CBDs for that was never the point anyway.

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  8. redqueen (521 comments) says:

    Reid, if we’re comparing to Auckland, I’d prefer to live in Wellington (Auckland driving and drivers are atrocious, comparatively). Again, if the issue is the enforcement rules, then I don’t see the problem. If, however, people don’t realise what the council does / how silly they are about setting those rules, then yes, the people should vote them out (although, per usual, subject to the caveat of having limited decent alternatives). Maybe DPF should run for City Council, thus providing some alternatives to the current muppetry. I’d definitely vote for someone at least sensible, even if I don’t always agree. But parking wise, I’m still not seeing this as anything other than people complaining about the law, compared with having an actual alternative. For instance, we could build more and better carparks (through districting the area and setting basic standards) in the CBD, thus alleviating the issue. That people demand parking right outside a building alleviates the supposed justification of illegal parking if there is a carpark two minutes away.

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  9. Mark (1,434 comments) says:

    Do not be fooled into thinking this spy car has some egalitarian motive about road safety. As with a number of initiatives by Wellington City this is little more than a thinly disguised revenue gathering regime. Swampy Marsh was quited in the Doinion last week as saying this spy car regime went against NZ’s expectaion of fairness. He is quite right. As a society we are not much for the sneaky clandestine apprach to enforcement of our laws. There are more than enough parking wardens in Wellington City and very few parking miscreants get away with illigal parking without being nabbed by this lot. The problem for Wellingtonians is that parking fines have now become an important part of Council revenues ($10m+) so of course they are always seeking ways to grow that base.

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  10. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    We experienced another sleazeball trick used by the WCC parking wardens in Wellington when we were down there shopping before Christmas:

    We pulled into a metered park near Town Hall at 11:30am, picked up a parcel and returned to car at 11:32am to find we had been ticketed for parking without paying from “11:24am to 11:31am”. My passenger had a cell-phone record of call she’d made in Mt Victoria (from our car to the shop we visited) at 11:24am.

    Explained to the WCC, excuse refused, paid the $40 – very pissed off and vowed to not shop in central Wgtn again. I know you can never win a “my word against yours” argument like this, but dirty tricks are dirty tricks so the only option is to vote with your feet. The losers are the retailers paying top dollar rent in the central city…and the council makes/steals $40.

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  11. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    redqueen you seem confused. The point is not legitimate enforcement of parking laws in order to keep parking reasonably free within the CBD. That is NOT repeat NOT repeat NOT the point for that is not what currently happens and that is not why WCC does what it currently does, re: parking enforcement.

    The point is, is the level of enforcement as just illustrated for example by 3-coil, reasonable, yes or no?

    If you think it is reasonable, then one assumes you also think it would be reasonable for the police force to expand by say, a hundred fold just so they could ticket every single person anywhere who ever went 101+ kph or jaywalked or dropped litter on the street or whatever other trivial “crime” you could think of which happens every day without anyone ever getting hurt or otherwise damaged by it. That’s the logical extension of your position.

    Is that reasonable? Apparently to you, it is.

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  12. redqueen (521 comments) says:

    Reid, first off, being rude only reinforces that you’re just angry, rather than have a sensible point. Reasonable, in the sense that the police have discretion, is one of the problems with our society: don’t pass silly laws and then require the police to ‘show discretion’ to make them paletable. Instead, how about people face the reality of their decisions and then, as is the point of democracy, can vote against the nonsense they’ve been put into. If Wellingtonians think that the parking regime is unfair, perhaps the solution is to change the regime, rather than to beat up on the enforcement division. This is the argument that when the police do enforce the law some subjective standard of what you or I think is ‘reasonable’ is an excuse to say we’re actually being mistreated. Instead, either change the rules so that they aren’t ‘unfair’ or stop breaking them. That way, we don’t have to constantly blame the police and parking wardens for being the evil people who go around doing their jobs. It’s the politicians, and the people who elect them, who deserve the complaint(s), not the enforcement arm which is not behaving in a specifically excessive way.

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  13. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    redqueen if you read what I said you would see I’m not referring to the enforcement arm at all I have been referring to the politicians so again, you seem confused.

    Secondly I note you haven’t addressed my point, which is, in case you haven’t understood although I suspect you have and you’re just pretending you haven’t, is that the enforcement is unreasonable and excessive and there is no legitimate rationale for that since it’s not as if parks are or ever have been particularly scarce in the Wgtn CBD therefore the only alternative rationale is that they are doing it to raise revenue and that is illegitimate, because I haven’t noticed any Councillor being explicit about that during the local body elections and therefore, according to democracy, they aren’t allowed to be doing that since such a platform should be put before the electorate.

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  14. jonno1 (80 comments) says:

    3-coil’s post at 10.53 reminded me of three personal experiences of parking wardens behaving badly (in Auckland).
    The first was similar – parked in a 15min slot for a delivery that took 10 minutes. Returned to find a ticket timed 11min in the future (implying 21min of parking). Apparently there’s a 6min “grace” period! Second one: parked in Auckland Domain for about 1.5hrs for a meeting nearby (2hr limit at the time, now 90mins); left to attend a lunch meeting elsewhere; returned later to park near the first spot for a further 1.5hrs approx. Got back to find a ticket for parking >4hrs! Final story; with a family group parked two cars in Newmarket for brunch in a 60min zone. Brunch took 45mins – both cars were ticketed with the start time one hour before we had even arrived.
    The first and third experiences were outright fraud, the other might have been incompetence. I was so furious I decided to take ACC on in the third case, even though they were only $12 tickets. The worst part was the repeated denials by senior staff that their parking warden could possibly be at fault. In other words, they effectively accused me of lying to save a few dollars. It was only when I involved the mayor, the CEO (or should I say Town Clerk? :)), and mentioned CCTV cameras, witnesses and perjury that suddenly the warden apparently realised his/her mistake. I did eventually get a written apology from a senior manager.
    My rather laboured point is that it’s a two-way street [sorry]: reasonable parking restrictions need to be enforced, but pettiness and fraudulent behaviour are unacceptable.

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  15. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    Fuck, if it equally pinged couriers parked on flush medians and bike riders on footpaths, instead of just motorists, I’d say bring it back with a vengeance.

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  16. Brian Smaller (4,028 comments) says:

    Fuck, if it equally pinged couriers parked on flush medians and bike riders on footpaths, instead of just motorists, I’d say bring it back with a vengeance.

    Or even better, if it pinged people who meander all over the fucking footpath on Lampton Quay and Willis St, disrupting the foot traffic flow. Hate to see how those people drive if they cannot walk in a straight line.

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