Nuisance cars moved

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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Owner of Auto Imports and Wholesale Ltd in Masterton, Lawson Hoggard (right), with partner Vicky Clarkson. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
Owner of Auto Imports and Wholesale Ltd in Masterton, Lawson Hoggard (right), with partner Vicky Clarkson. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Masterton car dealer Lawson Hoggard has pulled his unlicensed and unregistered cars from the streets.

The Wairarapa Times-Age has published stories and photographs detailing how Auto Imports and Wholesale were parking vehicles along Queen St and Dixon St, annoying retailers who said the dealership was taking up parking spaces for customers.

UCOL students also complained through social media about there being no available car parks.

The newspaper took the matter to police area commander Donna Howard, who promised an investigation.

Yesterday Acting Traffic Sergeant Shayne Nolan said he issued a letter explaining the infringements to Mr Hoggard sometime around May 25.

Mr Nolan has been monitoring the situation and said since May 30 he had not spotted any of the dealership's vehicles parked on Queen St.

"The odd car has been parked outside [the dealership's entrance on Dixon St], which you have to excuse, I think, but not on Queen St.

"We're continuously monitoring it and we won't let it slip."

It is an offence to have an unregistered, unwarranted vehicle parked on a public street, with each offence incurring a $150-$200 fine.

Mr Nolan said no fines had been issued to the dealership, even though up to 16 of their vehicles were routinely parked on public streets during business hours.

"I'm not saying we wouldn't have fined him, but we weren't going to unfairly concentrate our efforts on him."

He said after informing Mr Lawson of the penalties "it didn't take much for him to add up the fines for 16 vehicles".

However, Mr Nolan suspects it was not the infringement letter which prompted Mr Hoggard to start playing by the law.

"I think it's been more [with] the news articles that he's probably come to his senses to be honest."

In previous stories Mr Hoggard made no comment to the newspaper, but in an interview with magazine Autotalk last month he said "we've got too much stock, simple as that".

Yesterday he told the Times-Age the articles had been good for business. "[It's] brought in more customers who didn't even know we existed before."

His partner Vicky Clarkson is a saleswoman at the dealership, which celebrated 20 years in business last month.

She said the reason the vehicles had been parked on the street during the day was to clear access to the workshop.

"All we want to do is just sell cars -- that's it," Ms Clarkson said.

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