A photograph of a marked police car that was ticketed after overstaying its welcome on a Hastings street has gone viral on social media, prompting many to comment that the fine was deserved and that the police deserve "no special treatment" when their parking goes awry.
The photograph was originally posted to Facebook by a Hawke's Bay woman who noted that the car had been parked "all day" outside her workplace in Hastings.
The location on Eastbourne St is near to both the Hastings District Court and the Hastings Central Police Station.
She told the Herald that she first noticed the car at 8am and saw at lunchtime that it had been ticketed. It remained in the same spot until at least 3pm and was then moved.
The woman said that park was a two-hour park in a busy part of town and the driver should have expected a ticket, noting that he missed a trick in not parking in the free parking one block over.
The photo was shared widely on Facebook, where many saw the funny side.
"This has made my day," wrote one, while another suggested the ticket was deserved, saying "fair is fair".
That sentiment was echoed by many who argued that there should be a level playing field when it comes to parking infringements.
"Rules are rules," said one man, as another stated that police should receive "no special treatment".
The photo was also shared to Reddit, where users took a more nuanced view.
"Police shouldn't have to waste time looking around for parking spaces when they're on duty," said one, while others debated if all public servants should be exempt from parking fines.
One user labelled the parking warden who issued the ticket to police as "ballsy".
Hastings District Council regulatory solutions manager John Payne told the Herald that the council's parking officers don't ticket emergency vehicles on active duty, however he said "it is not always obvious whether they are on active duty."
He added that police could contest the ticket in the same way that any member of the public could.
A police spokesperson said that police officers do not have the authority to breach parking rules unless there is an official reason or dispensation – such as attending a priority event.
They told the Herald police were not aware of the circumstances of this particular notice, but if there is no defence then the driver is liable.