Matthew Theunissen is a business reporter

Fed up with mall parking policy

Birkenhead's Highbury Shopping Centre where Ian Squires was fined for parking breaches. Photo / Google Maps
Birkenhead's Highbury Shopping Centre where Ian Squires was fined for parking breaches. Photo / Google Maps

A North Shore man is fed up after twice being fined for overstaying the parking limit at a shopping mall due to its "naive" policy.

Ian Squires said he had gone shopping twice in Birkenhead's Highbury Shopping Centre on the days he was fined, but mall parking wardens pinged him as if he'd been there the whole time and therefore outstayed the three hour limit.

The two $59 tickets have since been rescinded, but Squires said the amount of feedback he'd been getting after posting his complaint online indicated to him that it was far from an isolated issue.

"Apparently a lot of people had been using the mall parking for park 'n' ride because they don't have that in Birkenhead so the mall hired a parking company to go around the with cameras mounted on their car taking photographs of all the vehicles.

"But they assumed that if you were there for, say, half an hour in the morning and you were there again but in a different part of the mall for maybe an hour later on, that you'd been there the whole time."

Squires, of Birkenhead, complained to mall management. He said they told him: "we didn't think people would shop more than once a day".

Squires replied: "That's very naive of you. Lots of people forget something and go back up again. You can't give tickets out just because it's assumed that they've been there all day."

NZ Retail Property Group (NZRPG) marketing and communications manager Sara Johnson said they were reviewing the automated technology used to issue fines.

"We have cars with scanning software that go through the centres and ... scan the vehicles. What can happen is for people who have been shopping in the morning and have to pop back in, they can get caught with that. However, that's never been our intention," she said.

"For the vast majority of people this isn't really an issue so we're happy with the system but obviously in the cases where our centre shoppers are getting caught with this, we're looking at ways to minimise this happening."

This could involve seeing whether the technology was able to detect whether a vehicle had changed locations in the carpark since first being scanned.

Anyone who believes they have been unfairly ticketed as a result of this technology can contact NZRPG on (09) 831 0200.

- NZ Herald

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