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Council votes to reimburse motorists

19 June 2007

Council votes to reimburse motorists

Christchurch City Council will reimburse motorists who received fines in error since February 2005 for a variety of offences where there were no signs advising them their actions would be illegal.

Council voted unanimously to adopt the recommendation of its Chief Executive Tony Marryatt that people who paid an infringement fee in error between February 27, 2005 and February 12, 2008 be reimbursed. Motorists who want to receive a refund will need to apply to the Council and confirm that they were the vehicle's registered owner who incurred the infringement.

Council records show that 1946 fines have been paid since the requirement for signage came in.

The Council stopped issuing tickets in February this year when it became aware of the disconnect between Government legislation and local Government bylaws.

Government regulations which came into force on 27 February 2005 say that where a Council is imposing parking, standing or stopping regulations, it must have prescribed signs to inform people, so a blanket ban is not possible and a register is not needed.

However, this Government regulation was not reflected in the proposal that went out for consultation which included a blanket ban on stopping, standing or parking on grass verges (in urban areas) and on grass berms.

Councillor Sue Wells, the head of the Council's Regulation and Planning Committee, said Council had collected the fines in error and it was appropriate to be honest and upfront about the mistake and to reimburse motorists who had paid fines which the Council could not legally collect.

"Councillors unanimously support the view of our Chief Executive offering to repay the fines collected. It is the right thing to do. People should not have parked on grass verges and berms, but because we hadn't signposted those areas correctly, we technically didn't have the right to collect those fines. We want this matter cleared up and the new bylaw we passed today is crystal clear."

Council will release information in the next week about how anyone who has paid a ticket in error can receive reimbursement.


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