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Anger after mum ticketed while giving birth

By Timothy Brown

Kerry-Lee Charlton is ''really angry'' the Dunedin City Council will not consider waiving the parking tickets. Photo / Craig Baxter
Kerry-Lee Charlton is ''really angry'' the Dunedin City Council will not consider waiving the parking tickets. Photo / Craig Baxter

A Dunedin mother is angry her car was ticketed while she was undergoing an emergency Caesarean section.

Kerry-Lee Charlton says a Dunedin City Council parking warden ticketed her car in January when it was parked outside Dunedin Hospital while she gave birth to her second son.

She wrote to the council asking to have the $70 fines remitted, but was told her "circumstances do not allow for the fines to be waived", she said.

She and her partner, Shawn Hurring, arrived at the hospital about 6.30am and parked as close as possible, she said.

At 9am, her partner fed the meter to avoid a ticket, but when it came time to feed the meter again "things had gone to crap", she said.

"I ended up having an emergency C-section and there was just no way either of us could get down there and do anything."

The situation had made her "really angry and ... it's wrong", she said.

In 2012, the council decided to set tougher criteria for maternity patients to have parking tickets waived.

Council acting customer services agency manager Brendan Shea said fines could be waived in emergency situations, but matters were dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

He rejected Ms Charlton's claims, said there was no record of payment being made and she was parked in a P30 park for "half a day".

"It's such a high-use area and ... to sit on one of those [P30 parks] for half a day, we don't see as reasonable," he said.

The area was "clearly" marked P30 and could not have been mistaken as any other type of park.

The council's stance might be "seen as tough and heartless, but it is what it is", he said.

Had Mr Hurring and Ms Charlton been parked in a park other than a P30 and made some payment, then the council would likely waive the fine, he said.

Ms Charlton said she was certain her partner had made some payment, although she was not sure whether the couple parked in a P30 space or not.

She intended to fight the council about the fines because of "the principle of it".

- Otago Daily Times

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