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Parking wardens – fair game?

October 4, 2004

Parking wardens – fair game? Or time to call foul says NZ parking chief

New Zealand parking expert today called on the public to better treat the country’s 500 parking officers. Colin Waite, chairman of the New Zealand Parking Association, said it was time parking officers were treated more kindly by the public.

He made the comments on the eve of the New Zealand parking conference in Nelson which opens tomorrow and ends Friday.

Parking wardens, along with the police, CYF’s staff, taxi drivers and nurses were at the top end of the scale when it comes to physical and verbal abuse, Mr Waite said. This group is most susceptible to violence when carrying out their day to day duties with the public, he said.

``It is evident that these members of our society who deal with the public face to face one a regular basis will be at risk from aggression.’’

Parking attendants can be separated from the other high risk professions in the group because they are ``the class of people who the public most love to hate’’, he said.

``The reality is parking officers throughout New Zealand are frequently the victims of physical and verbal assault purely because they are doing their job.

``Countless studies had been gleefully reported on the tv news that real estate agents, car salesmen, lawyers, traffic cops and parking wardens are disliked and distrusted by the general public.

``Just last year one of my staff was assaulted and pushed to the ground by a young male. The officer sustained serious inquiries and was off work for five months.

``This officer is an immigrant to New Zealand so he is also the subject of considerable racial abuse.’’

A world expert will outline decriminalising of parking offences at the conference. Stuart Lawrenson, the European chief executive for Central Parking System, is the main guest speaker. He will talking about the decriminalisation of the parking infringements in the United Kingdom.

Lawrenson’s company, Central Parking Corporation, has been the world’s largest parking services provider since 1958, with over 20,000 staff in 15 countries.

Allied to the conference is the largest NZ trade display of equipment and suppliers to the parking industry.

One of the suppliers, Reino International of Australia, will be presenting an award for parking excellence to one of this year’s delegates.

The award recognises contributions to the industry as well as recognising the struggles that some parking wardens have in their city.

The conference is an annual event for the NZ Parking Association which is represented by 48 territorial local authorities and one international airport company. They all carry out parking enforcement in New Zealand.

ENDS

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