Thirty years ago, a Wellington parking warden handed out a fine for a car parked in a loading zone. Today, the $40 ticket remains unpaid.

The figure is just one small drop in the pool of the capital's unpaid parking fines. Wellington City Council is owed nearly $9 million in overdue parking fees spanning the last three decades.

Parking Services manager Michelle Riwai said overdue tickets are lodged with the Ministry of Justice 150 days after the ticket is issued, and the ministry is in charge of chasing up the money.

The $8,795,443 that still hasn't been paid is in proportion to the number of tickets handed out, she said.

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Council issues about 170,000 tickets each year. There are 94,000 overdue tickets, dating back as far as 1987.

The 30-year-old ticket was sent to the ministry not long after it was issued, but Riwai has no idea why it has gone so long without being paid.

"Once it's been lodged with the Ministry of Justice, we would have very little control over that," she said.

But council has now decided to bring in debt collectors to tackle the pile of fines, a move Riwai said would be beneficial to customers.

"They won't have to pay that $30 court lodgement fee . . . obviously we will return some of that revenue to council quicker."

The move is expected to come in the next few weeks.

Riwai said it was not unusual for ticket repayment to trickle in over a long period of time. The majority of the unpaid tickets are from the past five years.

Council does not add overdue fees to the tickets, but Riwai could not say what the ministry might add.

"The one thing I would like to say is that if you get an infringement, just pay it please."