More calls are coming for proper parking regulation, this time from a couple who were towed and charged $340 after parking on private land with missing signage.
An empty metal bracket at an entry point to the Mercury Plaza carpark has since had a sign put on it, but the towing company says it won't be refunding the couple's money.
Samantha Parton and Ian Hardman were towed after parking in the Plaza car park behind Karangahape Rd in Auckland's CBD late on Saturday night.
In the dark they had confused the carpark for council parking as Auckland Transport signs for nearby on-street parking were the only ones they could see - and public parking was free at the time.
"Yes there are signs on other sides of the carpark, but nothing on the entrance and the council signs are so obvious," Parton said.
"You think it's a council carpark."
The couple, who are from the UK and have been living in Auckland for about three months, want the Government to make laws around private parking enforcement in New Zealand.
Their calls come after Auckland Towing Co Ltd's director, Antony Ashford, told them the current voluntary code which regulates private parking enforcement was "little more than a marketing gimmick" which he did not have to follow.
Ashford stood by the statement when asked by the Herald.
"In my opinion yes, it is," he said.
Parton and Hardman went to Auckland Towing Co's office on Great North Rd to collect their car and dispute the fee, saying there was no sign where they drove into the carpark.
Photos the couple took the day after they were towed, as well as Google satellite images, show an empty metal square on two metal poles - a signpost with no sign on it.
When the Herald met Parton and Hardman this week, a large sign had been installed in the holder, stating parking was for Mercury Plaza customers only.
Ashford said a sign referring to barrier arms was removed several years ago after the barriers were destroyed by vandals and the plan to replace it had been in the works for weeks.
It was a "strange coincidence" it had appeared days after Parton's complaint, he said, adding there were "no legal requirements at all for signs in New Zealand".
He would not consider refunding the $340, Ashford said.
In a similar incident earlier this year, Wilson Parking agreed to waive a parking fee after an Auckland motorist confused a private carpark for public land at the viaduct.
Had the sign been there on Saturday, Parton "clearly" would have parked elsewhere, she said.
Hardman hoped their case would draw attention to the issue of private parking enforcement being unregulated and he hoped to see legislation passed in New Zealand.
Minister for Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi reiterated he was concerned about some of the behaviour he had heard about in the private parking industry.
In response to Ashford's claim the code was a marketing gimmick, Faafoi said he encouraged property managers and landlords to use signatories to the code to carry out parking enforcement.
"My hope is always to work with a sector to get the right outcomes. If we can't do that, then we will have to look at other options and I have asked for advice on what that might look like."
AA spokesman Mark Stockdale said if they could not get the majority of the industry signed to the code voluntarily then some kind of mandate was necessary.
"Some form of a mandate is really the only other option. The AA has been saying for some time we want the private parking regulation industry to be regulated."