The number of motorists fined by Auckland Council parking wardens for having unsafe tyres has almost doubled in the past three years.
It is a little-known extension of duties for the council's Auckland Transport parking officers - and the practice was stopped in Tauranga earlier this year because of public outcry.
Police issue offence notices for faulty tyres when they stop vehicles for a safety check but local authorities' parking officers can issue infringements for parked vehicles under current national traffic regulations in place since 2001.
Auckland Council records going back to its formation in November 2010 show a steady increase in the number of tyre infringements it has issued.
In the last two months of 2010, 22 notices were issued, rising to 256 in 2011, 344 in 2012, 430 in 2013 and, so far this year, 388.
An AT spokesman said it was involved to ensure vehicles were safe for use and were roadworthy.
The spokesman said 327 or 23 per cent of notices issued were waived when the motorist showed they bought a new tyre within seven days.
But questions have been raised about how qualified parking officers are to decide whether damage to a tyre makes it unsafe.
In April, Tauranga City Council backed off from the practice in the face of a public outcry.
Instead, its wardens leave a notice warning motorists that they could face a $150 fine per tyre if the vehicle is spotted again with dangerous tyres.
One of the councillors who opposed tickets for tyres, Catherine Stewart, said tyres were a matter for the police and the Government rather than involving council parking wardens and local ratepayers.
"I felt it was over the top because what qualification does a parking warden have for this. If your car has a warrant of fitness, it's meant to be safe.
"Parking wardens should have more of an ambassadorial role -- not for revenue-gathering and treating visitors and residents like criminals.
"People who park in a city should be treated as customers."
Rotorua District Council also issues infringements for damaged and smooth tyres but Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Whangarei District Council have not joined in on the practice.
The AT spokesman said: "During a parking officer's induction and training period there is a specific section on tyres.
"Officers are tested on the legislation and given example of both worn tyres and those with cords showing, and how to assess each tyre."
The Land Transport Act does not specify the training and qualifications needed.
Jane Crosbie was shocked to find a ticket for a $150 fine stuck to her car windscreen outside Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.
"I had just popped in to see my mother who was a patient and I was not parked in the street for longer than the 90 minutes allowed on the sign and I had parked correctly," said the Pokeno resident.
The ticket was delievered by a parking warden for her "damaged tyre".
She was unaware wardens had these powers.
"They should not be doing this, because they're not police."
The Ministry of Justice said it was following up 2092 overdue fines for tyre offences issued by both police and councils in 2013-14.
NZ Transport Agency crash analysis shows that for the five years from 2009 to 2103, there were 40 fatal crashes and 79 serious injury crashes on New Zealand roads where tyre punctures, blowouts and or worn tyres were deemed to be contributing factors by Police investigating the crashes.
These crashes resulted in 50 deaths and 123 serious injuries.
Q & A
Why are councils involved in ticketing for unsafe tyres?
Councils issuing infringements say it is to ensure all vehicles operating on streets are safe for use and road worthy.
Who gets the money from tyre fines?
Councils and the Government. For infringements/fines issued by the Police, all the money collected goes into the Government's accounts.
What else can parking wardens enforce?
Breaches of parking restrictions and special vehicle lane offences -- for example mis-using a bus lane.