Parking wardens on the prowl in malls

By Nikki Preston

A move to catch unwarranted vehicles parked at shopping malls is running into resistance as malls question whether the city council is overstepping the mark.

The Hamilton City Council yesterday decided to ask Westfield Chartwell and The Base to let parking wardens check vehicles in their car parks for warrants of fitness and registrations in their carparks - as they do in council-owned carpark buildings.

Councillor Dave Macpherson said the move would promote road safety and close a loophole, as some drivers had told him they parked at The Base because they knew they wouldn't be ticketed.

The move to approach commercial centres for permission to carry out enforcement and to make it part of any future resource consents was passed 9-4 at a committee meeting but has to be ratified at the next full council meeting.

Councillor Peter Bos said that if council staff had time to ticket other areas then the city had too many staff.

Councillor Roger Hennebry said the council was using "road safety" as a smokescreen.

"It's a revenue gathering thing and I don't go along with it."

The council's vehicle enforcement arm covers its costs and earns revenue for the council.

Tainui Group Holdings and Westfield Chartwell said they would be open to hearing the council's proposal although their carparks were private.

Westfield shopping centre management general manager Linda Trainer said the centre provided substantial parking for shoppers within time allocations, and issues relating to the roadworthiness of vehicles should be checked carried by the council or police on public roads and not at shopping centres.

"We appreciate that vehicles need to be roadworthy for the safety of the occupant[s] and for others on the road however, it is not our place to police or monitor this."

Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio said the council's policing of what it was responsible for was fine, "but where there are private properties involved, such as businesses and houses, that's up to the private land owners.

"We are all interested in having a safe environment and the way we do that is more directly with the police who are the authority in that space."

Waikato District road policing manager inspector Leo Tooman said police had an agreement with the council to carry out enforcement on roadside carparks but it was the council's decision over whether they extended it to council-owned and private carparks.

- Hamilton News

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