NZTA cracks down on toll road dodgers

By Abby Gillies, Edward Gay

The camera gantry for the SH 1, Northern Gateway Toll Road. File photo / NZPA
The camera gantry for the SH 1, Northern Gateway Toll Road. File photo / NZPA

The New Zealand Transport Authority has warned it will pursue other toll dodgers after successfully prosecuting a Snells Beach man who owes more than $5000 in unpaid tolls.

Robert Masaberg was convicted in North Shore District Court of 20 charges of failing to pay a toll and was ordered to pay $1156 in fines, court and prosecution costs.

He owes $5181 in unpaid tolls for the Northern Gateway Toll Road, unpaid administration fees and additional costs connected with attempts to get him repay his debt.

Mr Masaberg did not appear to defend the charges, but the court said it accepted NZTA evidence of his repeated non-payment of tolls and ruled that the charges had been proven.

NZTA spokesman Ewart Barnsley said the agency was looking at three other prosecutions.

One owes $3780 and the others $900 and $500.

"We hope people will cough up'', Mr Barnsley said.

He said over 96 per cent of toll road users paid their tolls.

Tolls collected on the 7.5km Northern Gateway, which opened in January 2009, are used to repay the cost of constructing the $372.5 million road that extends Auckland's northern motorway to Puhoi.

Masaberg is not the first person to be convicted for avoiding tolls.

In June retired lawyer Hans Grueber, 70, was fined $160 after a defended hearing in North Shore District Court on four charges of evading tolls, and ordered to contribute $452 to the NZTA's prosecution costs, as well as $130.89 in court costs.

Mr Grueber is challenging the legality of the toll road and has vowed to fight the conviction. He has taken his case to the High Court.

He said he was hoping to contact Masaberg to offer his support "and compare notes''.

- APNZ

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