A father has accused Auckland Transport of targeting parents as "cash cows" after he was fined $100 for parking for five minutes to pick up his son from school.
Nigel King, a real estate agent, was fined $60 for parking on a yellow line outside Ponsonby School in Curran St, and another $40 after he turned around and parked over a driveway across the road.
He said he was in the car the whole time, with the engine running, until his 9-year-old son came out of school.
"They have two people there taking photos," he said.
"I guess Auckland Transport have realised this is a bit of a cash cow - fine parents picking up their kids from school."
An Auckland Transport spokesman confirmed that the agency had placed parking wardens outside Ponsonby School "two or three times a week" in recent weeks, and stationed 35 officers outside schools across the region each day.
But he said parents were "definitely not cash cows".
"When you equate full operating costs for the officers, we lose time and money by providing this safety-driven service to schools."
Ponsonby School principal Dr Anne Malcolm said parking had become a fraught issue in the inner-city suburb since resident-only parking zones were extended in the past month.
The new zone has forced city workers to park further out from the city - including in Curran St, a busy street used to access the Harbour Bridge.
"People are parking all over our local area and walking or bussing into town, so it's really hard for parents to get a park outside the school," Malcolm said.
She said parents brought "probably 200 cars" to drop off and pick up their children each day, but there were only two designated drop-off carparks with a two-minute parking limit.
King said his wife, who works near the school, usually walks down to pick up their son, but on June 26 she was delayed at work so at the last minute he had to drive there.
He took a work phone call just as he arrived outside the school, so he stopped on the yellow line.
After he finished the call, he spotted space across the road and turned around to park there.
"It was in front of someone's driveway but there was nobody there. My boy came out, and we drove off," he said.
"If I had tried to park [legally but further away], that would have taken me 10 minutes, and maybe five minutes to get back to the school, so my kid would have been waiting outside for 15 minutes."
But Auckland Transport said it did not make any exception for parents.
"If the vehicle is not moving, even if someone is in it and the motor is running, it is deemed as being parked," its spokesman said.
"Behaviour of some parents at some schools is poor. Infringement notices are issued for non-compliance. Community constables also experience unacceptable behaviour by parents around school zones and unsafe driving and parking practices.
"In any large city you cannot expect to drop off or collect a child from immediately outside of the school.
"We work with many schools in Auckland on carpooling, neighbourhood parent collection runs, walking school buses and options such as parking away from the school and walking your child to the gate."