Dunedin City Council parking officer Bevan Mears issues an
infringement notice. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
Dressed in bright yellow and black jackets and helmets
and weaving in and out of traffic, Dunedin's parking wardens
are a bit like wasps and can sometimes prompt a similar
response when they sting someone with a parking ticket.
Dunedin City Council parking officer Bevan Mears has been on
the job for nine years.
Most days he can be found patrolling the city on his scooter
and making sure no-one is parking illegally.
He marks car tyres with his own special system of chalk
marking to keep track of how long they have been there and
when he finds a violation he issues a ticket.
Mr Mears estimated he would give out about 40 tickets per day
but said this varied between officers. If the driver was
there at the time, he would often issue a warning instead.
During his career, he had ticketed friends and family members
but they all understood he was just doing his job, he said.
People often objected to being ticketed and wardens were
subjected to verbal abuse on an almost daily basis, he said.
''The most common ones are telling me to `get a real job' or
calling me a Nazi,'' he said.
Mr Mears was not bothered by the insults. He did not take
them personally as ''most people were just angry at the
Some people took it further and wardens were also physically
The worst that had happened to Mr Mears had been having one
of his tickets shoved down his jacket.
His colleague Suzie Osborne had once been shunted by a
disgruntled motorist as they were driving away.
Another warden, Marty Wilde, had been eye-gouged on the job.
This had not been because of a ticket he issued but rather
because he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and
was attacked by an escaped mental health patient.
Assaulting a parking warden was a pretty stupid idea because
nine times out of 10 they would have your vehicle details, Mr
Despite the sometimes stressful conditions, Mr Mears said he
had never had a better job. Most other wardens felt the same
and this was reflected in the low turnover of staff, he said.
His boss, parking services team leader Daphne Griffen, was
extremely understanding and if things got too much all a
warden had to do was call in and she would tell them to come
in for a break or go for a drive to calm down, he said.
Ms Griffen said there were a lot of misconceptions about
parking and parking officers.
A lot of people thought they were subjected to almost
constant abuse but in reality many people were appreciative
of what they did and said so, she said.
Another common misconception was thinking wardens had to ask
people to move before they could issue a ticket.
DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL PARKING
• There are eight parking wardens in Dunedin.
• Between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 Dunedin wardens
issued 75,780 infringement notices. For the corresponding
period in 2011 and 2012, they issued 66,568. Between 2012 and
2013 they issued 69,324 and between July 1, 2013 and June 30
this year they issued 67,937.
• For each period the total value of the tickets was close to
• The value of the tickets issued and revenue received was
significantly different. About $1.3 million in unpaid Dunedin
parking fines, some dating back as far as the 1980s, are
before the courts.
• The Dunedin City Council reported an average of five
assaults each year on parking wardens. The wardens say verbal
abuse occurs almost daily.
• You have the right to query any parking ticket. This
process is handled by the Dunedin City Council customer
services team, not the parking wardens. About 5% of tickets