Pensioner dodges fine after blunder

By Emily Norman emily.norman@age.co.nz -
3 comments
Phyllis McIntosh was booked for inconsiderate parking in Masterton but has proof there were inconsistencies with the time specified for her infringement. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Phyllis McIntosh was booked for inconsiderate parking in Masterton but has proof there were inconsistencies with the time specified for her infringement. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

A pensioner has won out over Masterton District Council in a dispute over an "inconsiderate" parking ticket.

Yesterday, the council cancelled Alfredton resident Phyllis McIntosh's $60 fine after she said she "could not possibly" have committed the infringement at the time stated on the ticket.

Mrs McIntosh, who parked outside Paper Plus in Masterton to buy a postage stamp, said she almost burst into tears when she saw a parking inspector writing her a ticket for parking over the white line.

"I nearly fell over when I looked at the ticket and saw $60," she said.

"I said to him, that's our groceries for a week."

While Mrs McIntosh agrees that she was "definitely over the little white line", she said the time written on the ticket for her infringement was incorrect and was worried that other residents may have been incorrectly booked for time-based infringements.

According to the ticket, Mrs McIntosh was parked from 12.45pm until 12.59pm.

"I said to the inspector that I couldn't possibly have been in the shop for that long because I was just buying a stamp," she said. "It doesn't take 14 minutes to buy a stamp."

Before going to Paper Plus, Mrs McIntosh had paid to get a warrant of fitness done for her car at Southey's Auto World.

The time stamp of the EFTPOS receipt from her WOF is 12.44pm, proof, she said, that she could not have committed the inconsiderate parking infringement at the time stated on the fine.

"Even after I paid for my warrant at Southey's, I asked to use their toilet, said goodbye to everyone, went out to the street where the car was parked, put my things inside, moved the seat, then drove out and on to Queen St, midday through intersections, pedestrian crossings, etc until I got to Paper Plus," she said.

"This parking ticket states I parked at 12.45pm until 12.59pm. Not true."

Mrs McIntosh wrote a letter to Masterton District Council explaining the issued ticket was incorrect and asked for her fine to be waived.

Although council did not cancel her ticket when it received the letter, enquiries by the Times-Age prompted an investigation on the timing of the ticket by going through the field logs for that day.

"There has been clearly been an error, so we've written to Mrs McIntosh apologising for the discrepancy and cancelling the ticket," spokesman Sam Rossiter-Stead said. "To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that such an error has occurred and we will take steps to ensure that it isn't repeated."

Mrs McIntosh said it was a big relief that she didn't have to pay the fine as "$60 is about all we have left of our pension after a fortnight".

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