The Queenstown Lakes District Council says its parking
officers are ''unsung heroes'' who carry out a difficult but
The council's backing of its parking team follows the alleged
assault of an officer in Brecon St on Thursday. Acting
Sergeant Phil Hamlin, of Queenstown, said the situation
became ''heated'' after a vehicle owner returned to his car
to find the officer writing a ticket.
''The driver has gone to the parking warden and pushed him in
the chest - given him a shove - and tried to pull the ticket
book out of his hands so he could see what the parking warden
The vehicle owner, a 38-year-old Queenstown man, drove from
the scene but was arrested at home soon afterwards. He will
appear in the Queenstown District Court on Monday on a charge
of common assault.
Queenstown Lakes District Council regulatory manager Lee
Webster said violence against parking officers was a ''rare
occurrence'' in the district.
However, if a member of the public was violent, threatening
or verbally abusive towards an officer, the council did not
hesitate to go to the police.
The ''very professional'' officer, who had about six years'
experience in the role, returned to work yesterday. Although
uninjured, he was ''clearly shaken by what's taken place''.
Parking officers played a ''vital role'', particularly in the
small but busy Queenstown CBD, Mr Webster said.
''They're unsung heroes - if they're doing their job well,
people don't notice.
''If there were no parking officers, all of a sudden we'd
have chaos and gridlock.''
The job was not just ''handing out tickets'', but also
involved informing the public about parking rules so that
enforcement was unnecessary.
The council normally employed four officers in Queenstown,
but had a vacancy for one position at present. They received
ongoing training in the law relating to their role as well as
learning skills for interacting with the public, he said.
''When they are dealing with people they have to treat them
with respect, be professional and non-judgemental.''
Senior Constable Chris Blackford, of Queenstown, said parking
officers had the strong backing of the police, and anyone
mistreating an officer ''could expect no leniency''.
''People do not understand that parking wardens have a very
difficult job to do, and without them, this town would come
to a standstill.''
In 2012, the Otago Daily Times reported that an Invercargill
man was ordered to pay $4000 reparation and carry out 50
hours' community service after threatening a Queenstown
parking officer in Marine Pde and throwing the officer's
electronic ticketing machine into Lake Wakatipu.