First people were asked to mow their berms, now Auckland Council is seeking a law change to ban parking on them - a move that could impact urban areas across the country.
But a motorists' watchdog has hit back, saying the city should sort out parking shortages rather than punishing car owners.
Auckland Transport (AT) is campaigning for a law change allowing it to fine people for parking on grass roadside berms that don't have "no parking" signs.
AT's Traffic Bylaw prohibits parking on grass berms. But the Land Transport Act rules mean "no parking" signs must be installed every 100m to enforce the ban.
On Sunday Waitematā Local Board chairwoman Pippa Coom, on behalf of the council, will seek support from Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) at its Wellington conference to lobby central government for a law change.
Coom said parking on berms could damage underground utilities, create safety issues for footpath users and rip up the grass, preventing berms acting in their primary capacities to soak up and filter stormwater.
"If parking is an issue, then that needs to be addressed. Parking on berms should not be a solution.
"And having to install signs at 100m intervals on a street to enforce the rules is just farcical.
"We are seeking legislation change to clarify the rules to allow councils to prohibit parking on berms in urban areas if they choose."
Between August 2016 and August 2018, AT received 840 safety complaints from the public about berm parking.
Convert park-and-ride grass berm for parking: politician
AT warned that drivers parking on Auckland berms were causing "substantial safety risks", in a submission to the NZ Transport Agency last year.
"Drivers in Auckland are becoming aware that AT do not issue infringement notices for parking on the grass verge unless signage has been installed.
"As more drivers become aware, the problems increase in areas without signage and AT is unable to take action."
But the Automobile Association opposes any blanket ban.
Spokesman Mark Stockdale said sweeping prohibitions would create problems for Kiwi car owners.
"At the moment parking on berms is very accepted in some areas. Most people across the country have to maintain and mow their berms, so there is an expectation you can park on them if needed, such as when you have extra guests for birthday parties, family gatherings or sports events."
In urban areas with few carparks some people were simply trying to be courteous and not block narrow streets, he said.
"Shortage of parking needs to be addressed before banning parking on berms."
Stockdale agreed the number of cars on berms could get "out of control", and there could be damage to underground utilities in some areas.
"But in those pressure points there should be signs installed, rather than a blanket ban."
Auckland berm issues are not new. A controversial plan change in 2013/14 sparked outrage when residents were forced to mow their own berms.
However, the council will mow people's berms if they are unable to do so themselves and meet certain criteria.
Mayor Phil Goff said council investment in public transport would reduce the need for people to use their cars.
"We don't want a city with hundreds of signs saying 'do not park here'. We want the ability to say it is illegal to park on berms, in areas where it is obstructing pedestrians and residents living there, digging up the grass and creating mess - we don't want that."
AT spokesman Mark Hannan said installing no parking signs across the city was both costly and time consuming.
Just 36 streets across the city currently have signs - representing just 0.004 of the city's 9000 streets.
AT could issue $40 fines for berm parking in those places.
Meadowbank resident Murray Hutchinson previously told the Herald he was frustrated to be told by AT that it did not have the power to tell tradies who repeatedly parked on the berm outside his Temple St home to move.
Hutchinson said his neighbour was renovating his home last year and contractors left the berm "munted".
AT erects signs only after prioritising grass berm complaints.
The criteria includes risk of damage to "critical" utility services such as underground power, water and fibre cables.
Street visibility in high-risk areas near schools or parks is also a consideration for the signs.
Ministry of Transport mobility and safety manager Brent Johnston said a number of councils had raised transport bylaw issues around councils being able to fine motorists parked on berms.
Under a new bylaw in 2017, Christchurch City Council declared it an offence to park on a grass or paved berm where there is a kerb.
LIST OF AUCKLAND STREETS YOU CAN BE FINED PARKING ON BERMS:
Litten Rd/Paparoa Rd, Cockle Bay
Beaumont St, Auckland Central
Hamer St/Brigham St, Auckland Central
Corner of Sale St and Cook St, Auckland Central
Union St, Sam Wrigley St, Auckland Central
East St & Young Cres, Drury
257 Main Highway, Ellerslie
2 Hudson St, Ellerslie
15 Margot St, Epsom
279 Botany Rd, Golflands
Auckland Domain, Grafton
33 Scanlan St, Grey Lynn
Ara-Tai Rd, Half Moon Bay
5 Paramount Drive, Henderson
261 Lincoln Rd, Henderson
1 Ethel St, Mcdonald St, Altham Ave, Kingsland
Barrowcliffe Pl, Manukau
32 Altham Ave, Mount Eden
397 Ellerslie-Panmure Highway, Mount Wellington
103 Panama Rd, Mount Wellington
96 Ireland Rd, Mt Wellington
3 Rankin Ave, New Lynn
9 Sarawia St, Newmarket
71 Maurice Rd, Penrose
237 Sunset Rd, Sunnynook
247 and 249 Sunset Rd, Sunnynook
1 The Terrace, Takapuna
15 Brett Ave, Takapuna
The Landing, Takapuna
2 Waipani Rd/Gwendoline Ave, Te Atatu Peninsula
3 Katote Close, south near Botanic Gardens, The Gardens
Clive Rd (outside Scout Hall), Mt Eden
Te Atatu Rd (outside Harbourview Reserve), Te Atatu Peninsula
Albany town centre parking zone, Albany
Kupe St, Orakei
Oxford Tce, Devonport