A Dunedin City Council parking officer, who would not be
named, takes the traditional approach to traffic
enforcement in Great King St, outside Dunedin Hospital,
yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Parking wardens are issuing polite requests, rather than
parking tickets, as part of a charm offensive in Dunedin.
The result is a dramatic decline in the number of parking
infringement notices issued in the past year, and a fall in
revenue for the Dunedin City Council.
Figures released to the Otago Daily Times show the
council's 10 parking officers together issued 63,691 tickets
in the 2011-12 financial year.
That was down from 75,780 tickets issued by 11 officers the
previous financial year.
The change represents a decline of about 15% in tickets
issued, and means revenue for the council dropped from $2.55
million in 2010-11 to $2.21 million in 2011-12; $383,000 less
Council development services manager Kevin Thompson said he
was "more than comfortable" with the outcome, despite the
"Our aim is to get compliance, by warning someone first,
rather than just issuing a ticket.
"The revenue has dropped ... but, as I've always said, it's
not how much money we're making."
The change had been "very favourably" received, as most
motorists were happy to comply and avoid a ticket, he said.
"If they're asked to move, we would say 95%, if not more,
He denied the new approach encouraged motorists to push the
limits, saying that was not supported by public feedback.
The lenient approach applied to motorists committing minor
infringements, such as parking on a bus stop or an authorised
Those overstaying on parking meters were asked to move if
still in their vehicles, otherwise tickets were issued.
A zero-tolerance approach applied where safety was an issue,
such as motorists parking on broken yellow lines or
double-parking outside schools.
The drop in revenue from parking tickets was partially offset
by the decision not to replace one parking officer who
retired in March.
The figures were released yesterday after an ODT
request under the Local Government Official Information and
Meetings Act 1987.
The figures showed about 50% escaped the ticket - up from
about 48% in 2010-11 - after writing to the council with an
excuse. The council received 4987 excuses in 2011-12 and
waived 2491 tickets as a result.
The council was also owed $1.6 million in unpaid parking
fines being pursued through the courts, some of which dated
back years, the figures showed.
Mr Thompson said the figure fluctuated from month to month,
but was near the highest it had been in 10 years.
That was perhaps in part due to continuing tough economic
conditions and the financial positions of those issued
tickets, he suspected.