The Dom Post reports:
More than 4000 Wellington motorists a year have been receiving two parking tickets for what is effectively a single offence under double-dipping fines that have already been thrown out by a court.
Wellington City Council has been forced to investigate the legality of its fines after a District Court ruling found it was punishing people for two offences, despite the transgressions amounting to the same thing.
But the council maintains it is acting legally, and it is continuing to issue the double dose of fines.
When motorists’ pay-and-display tickets run out, they are fined for displaying an expired ticket. Then, if they are also beyond the maximum time limit for the car park, they are hit with a second fine. In the past financial year, 4100 tickets were issued in this way. The practice started many years ago.
As you can only get a ticket for up to two hours, ipso facto if you end up pared for longer you will have an expired ticket and be over the maximum time.
You should get a ticket, but only one ticket. The fines for an expired ticket already vary depending on time. So if you are 30 minutes over it is $12 and two to four hours over is $30.
In May, justices of the peace Ian Symonds and S J Roughton ruled against the practice, saying the first fine should be “subsumed into the second” because it was basically the same offence.
But council spokesman Richard MacLean defended the practice, and said the council was still issuing the extra tickets while it carried out a review. It accepted that two tickets could make motorists “become annoyed”, but it maintained two offences were being committed.
“We reject the revenue-gathering angle, because we are responding to a problem where people are parking free and taking away the ability for other people to park.”
Yeah, not revenue generating – right.
No one disputes there should be a fine – just not two fines.