New cars fitted with high-tech parking cameras are proving lucrative for Auckland Transport.
Since the first camera car started patrolling residents' parking zones in inner city suburbs, it has issued about 200 tickets a day, compared with about 50 to 60 tickets for a parking warden on foot.
Between September last year and July 21, the car ticketed 7947 vehicles at residents' parking zones in Ponsonby, Freemans Bay, Grey Lynn, Parnell and Mt Eden.
More than half the tickets - 4818 - were issued in Ponsonby. This was followed by 1727 tickets in Freemans Bay and 1260 in Grey Lynn. Just 45 tickets were issued in Parnell and 97 in Mt Eden.
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AT said the fines ranged from $12 to $57, but said there was no easy way of compiling the total value of fines.
Since July 21, AT has rolled out four more camera cars. Later this year, new generation cars will have a real time link to all paid parking machines with the ability to nab offenders.
AT parking compliance manager Rick Bidgood has said residents are delighted with local parking zones, saying the car cameras are aimed at the vast majority of drivers who comply with the rules but there for those who game the system.
People living outside a residents' parking zone can park a vehicle for up to two hours without getting a ticket during working hours on weekdays.
Under the new scheme, cameras mounted on the cars scan a car's number plate and work out if it belongs to a resident with the permit for that zone. If not, the cameras capture an image of the car's surroundings, such as street markings and trees, its position on GPS, and the exact position of the air valves on its tyres.
Two hours later an officer will drive the exact same route and the camera captures the same images. They can tell whether a car has moved - even by an inch - thanks to the position of the air valves.
At the end of the day, a parking warden goes over the images, confirms the infringement and issues a ticket.
Bidgood said it was not possible to make a direct comparison between tickets issued by parking wardens and the camera cars, partly because there is not a full case history for the residents' parking zones.
Parking wardens on foot also issue tickets for other infringements, such as not having a warrant of witness or registration, incorrect kerb parking and parking on yellow lines or the footpath, Bidgood said.
He said an officer on foot may issue 50 to 60 infringements a day, compared with about 200 for a car camera.
In the 13 months ending March 31 this year, AT issued between 300,000 and 330,000 tickets worth millions of dollars.
The top-performing parking warden handed out 14,250 tickets worth nearly $775,000. A camera car could issue about 65,000 tickets over the same period.
The Automobile Association has said the new technology should be used to change behaviour, not simply to raise more revenue for AT.
Mark Stockdale, the AA's principal adviser for regulations, said the technology could shift the balance of power back toward residents who could not find parks on their own street due to other commuters.