I booked a dinner at Ostro restaurant in Auckland CBD one recent Friday evening. I drove my car into the Britomart precinct to get a car park. In the Tyler St area there were at least eight taxis parked in normal pay-and-display spaces. Do we not have designated taxi ranks? Why are taxis allowed to take up pay-and-display parking spaces? I'm sure they're not paying for the 30-plus minutes they sit there waiting for a fare. Tim Birchall, Auckland.

Mark Hannan from Auckland Transport says, "With any pay-and-display space in the central city parking zone, a user has a 10-minute grace period to get a valid parking receipt. Taxis may use pay-and-display if they pay for the space."

You may be comforted to know enforcement officers regularly issue tickets to taxi drivers for non-compliance of the road-user rules.

And yes, there are designated taxi ranks in the CBD.


Where can I take used household batteries and used light bulbs for recycling? I believe batteries and light bulbs, especially the environmentally friendly long-life bulbs, contain substances that can be extracted and recycled. Elena Inta, Henderson.

The Ministry for the Environment website advises that single-use dry cell batteries (non-rechargeable) of types zinc carbon, zinc chloride and alkaline manganese are not classed as hazardous waste and are acceptable to dispose of in household waste.

The ministry website also has useful information on the disposal of light bulbs. In essence, it says:

"Incandescent lamps (both the old-style tungsten filament and more efficient tungsten halogen ones) and other halogen lamps can be disposed of with household rubbish. Wrap any broken glass in newspaper to prevent injury during handling of the rubbish bags.

"Fluorescent lamps, [including energy-saving], contain small amounts of mercury. While the mercury poses no immediate threat to human health or the environment when the lamps are used, mercury is a toxic substance so these lamps need to be managed properly when they become waste.

You'll need to check with your local authority as disposal options can vary for different regions."

Auckland Council's website advises that energy-saving light bulbs are not acceptable at its transfer or recycling stations. However, the EECA Energywise website suggests that if your local council won't accept these light bulbs for recycling, you can wrap them carefully in a sealed glass or plastic jar and put them in your normal household rubbish, preferably outside.

Confused yet? Can anyone clarify what we should do?