Dunedin City Council parking officers are issuing more
tickets, not fewer, despite a continuing charm offensive in the
However, the officers' actions have been defended by council
regulatory services group manager Kevin Thompson, who said
motorists appreciated the more lenient approach in some
Figures released to the Otago Daily Times showed the
council's 10 parking officers together issued 69,324 tickets
in 2012-13, up nearly 9% from 63,691 the previous year.
That meant parking ticket revenue was up from $2.21 million
to $2.47 million in the same period, although still $262,000
The jump in tickets issued came after Mr Thompson said last
year parking officers were writing fewer tickets but instead
asking more motorists to move on, as part of a charm
offensive in the city.
That had resulted in a dramatic 15.9% drop in ticket numbers
in the 2011-12 year. He said yesterday the same approach was
continuing, although ticket numbers were up.
The lenient approach applied to motorists stopped on bus
stops, authorised vehicle parks and taxi stands, if they
remained in their vehicles. In those cases, parking officers
were asking motorists to move on, but would still issue tickets
if drivers were away from their vehicles or refused to budge
when asked, he said.
However, it was business as usual for other infringements,
including overstaying on metered parks, stopping on broken
yellow lines, or leaving vehicles unattended in bus stops or
taxi stands, he said.
''That hasn't changed.
''There's no warnings and usually people aren't around
Despite that, more than 1000 motorists had avoided being
issued tickets under the ask-first approach, including both
written warnings and requests to move, he said.
Another 2426 motorists had been issued tickets, only to later
have them waived by council staff after writing in with
explanations, the figures showed.
That was about 50% of those who wrote in seeking waivers, and
was almost identical to the previous year's figures, when
2491 motorists had tickets waived.
However, the council had also introduced a new complaints
monitoring system in August last year, and since then had
recorded 22 complaints lodged by members of the public
against parking officers.
That included incidents involving disputes with motorists
that ''could have been handled better'' by officers involved,
Mr Thompson said.
No formal disciplinary action had resulted but, in some
cases, incidents had led to discussions with the team leader
of the officer involved, he said.
Parking officers had also undergone ''tactical
communication'' training last month, helped by an external
consultant, to improve the way they handled ''uptight, angry
people'', Mr Thompson said.
He said 22 complaints was not ''excessive'' given the number
of interactions between the officers and the public.
''We'd always want no complaints, but in the real world there
will always be complaints.''
And, asked if parking officers were being nice enough, Mr
Thompson said: ''We think so.
''We still get people writing and ringing to say 'thank you
for not issuing a ticket' ... we still get the feedback that
they appreciate being asked to move on rather than being
ticketed straight away.''