Tick, tick, ticket - Auckland parking warden works at speed

By David Eames

Officer 245 loves his work.

If the Auckland City Council parking warden were the lion, Princes St would be the watering hole, unsuspecting motorists the antelope.

He doesn't waste time stalking his quarry, and he doesn't linger over the carcass.

The Herald went on safari yesterday with Officer 245 as he dispensed fines and infringement notices totalling hundreds of dollars in barely 30 minutes.

He is among the squads of officers who, it was revealed yesterday, handed out $19 million in fines during the first six months of the year in Auckland's four main councils.

He is relentless when issuing tickets, but he enjoys what he does.

"You do get the odd off-hand person ... but you take it in your stride."

He found his first target at 2.13pm. The next was at 2.14pm.

After pausing briefly to show some people how to use the pay-and-display parking meter, he was off to issue another ticket.

At 2.24pm, he chased off a lingering motorist. At 2.25pm he chalked a tyre and issued another infringement notice. And it continued - 2.29pm, one chalked tyre and a $12 ticket. A $21 ticket at 2.30pm, another $15 at 2.34pm.

A $200 fine for the owner of an unregistered car, then back to more mundane levels with another $15 parking ticket moments later.

A passenger in the $200 car said the driver had gone to get some cash. She said her boyfriend, a student, had incurred almost $1000 in fines in one semester.

Officer 245 was unstoppable: $15, $12, $15 ...

But he is not the only lion in the pride. Earlier, the Herald watched as another warden - a lioness - prowled the same stretch of Princes St.

She set a one-a-minute pace, issuing at 12.55pm, 12.56pm and 12.57pm.

"My brother just parked to drop us off," said one crestfallen student, whose sibling was issued a $400 fine at 1.03pm for having no warrant of fitness or registration.

"They are so fast around here," gasped another passerby.

After a brief sojourn in Albert Park, the warden headed toward Queen St, pausing briefly to scold a clumsily parked motorist.

The Herald lost track of her when she entered a pie shop at about 1.25pm.

Later, the Herald talked to Officer 245 - he says he is not allowed to give his name - about his work.

He said he was not an indiscriminate ticket issuer.

If he saw a car parked without a pay-and-display ticket, he would generally wait up to six minutes for the driver to return. But after that, out came the ticket book.

A vehicle with registration or a warrant of fitness more than two months overdue would also cop a fine, but if the overdue period was less than two months he'd leave a warning ticket.

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