It's enough to drive some people mad - traffic wardens are among the few Kiwis allowed to defy parking rules.

The discovery surprised a Waikato Hospital worker who saw a Hamilton City Council warden ticketing a car parked on a berm at the hospital in July.

They took a photo of the warden parked across a kerb marked with yellow striped lines prohibiting vehicles.

"I think it's ironic the parking warden had to park illegally to issue a ticket," said the hospital worker, who wished to stay anonymous.

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The staffer wondered if such apparently illegal parking by the warden would allow the person being ticketed to escape the fine.

But it's legal for parking wardens across the country to park illegally when issuing tickets - as outlined in the Transport Agency's Land Transport Rules.

Hamilton City Council's infrastructure general manager, Eeva-Liisa Wright, confirmed it was a council parking warden in the photo, and said they were well within their rights to do so.

"The council's traffic bylaw allows our parking wardens to park in this manner during the fulfilment of their duties," Wright said.

"From the image it appears the vehicle on the berm is on council road reserve, not on hospital property.

"Besides obstruction issues, one of the reasons we ticket vehicles on berms is because this kind of parking can damage key infrastructure for our communities, such as water and gas pipes, as well as telecommunications lines."

Auckland Transport's Mark Hannan also confirmed: "Parking wardens are allowed to park their vehicle with lights flashing while issuing an infringement.

"They can only do this if there is nowhere to park and it is safe to do."

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Wellington City Council spokeswoman Victoria Barton-Chapple confirmed "parking wardens can park illegally in the course of their duty" in Wellington too.

Illustration / Rod Emmerson
Illustration / Rod Emmerson

Barton-Chapple clarified the law was not a local council bylaw, but one of several "general exceptions" to the Transport Agency's Land Transport Rules.

Point 3.b of these exceptions states a transport rule may be broken when "an act or omission done by an enforcement officer or a parking warden, was necessary in the execution of the person's duty".

Barton-Chapple said every local authority throughout New Zealand would enforce using this legislation.

"What may differ between local authorities is their in-house practices. It is not Wellington City Council Parking Services' practice to park illegally.

"This would depend on the circumstances e.g. if a vehicle was parked causing a danger to other road users or pedestrians, our wardens would need to take immediate action.

"This may mean parking illegally to prevent danger to other motorists or to have the offending vehicle removed."