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Cheating on mobility carparks: Appalling

Media Release – September 20, 2006

Cheating on mobility carparks: appalling disgusting and preying on the disadvantaged – parking leader says

Too many New Zealand drivers were showing zero respect by preying on the disadvantaged and parking in wheelchair-signed carparks, a leading parking expert said today.

New Zealand drivers were abusing the mobility parking scheme, NZ Parking Association chairman Colin Waite said today.

He said statistics showed both physically abled and disabled were failing to honour the conditions of use of the scheme.

Research by CCS (formerly Crippled Children’s Society) NZ has found that more than 50 percent of vehicles parked in mobility parking spaces were not displaying a current mobility parking permit and just as tellingly, 11% of those vehicles were trade or business vehicles.

Almost half of the drivers appeared to be under 40 years of age, male or female.

``This findings are appalling, disgusting and it’s basically preying on the disadvantaged of our society,’’ Waite said.

``These figures show a total disregard and lack of empathy for more than 80,000 people who hold mobility parking permits.

``We do need better signage and brighter markings but the greatest deterrent would be a fine that reflects the abhorrence that the general public has for those who abuse mobility parking spaces.’’

Mobility parking will be one of the issues discussed at the association’s annual conference to be held at Invercargill on October 3 to 6.

Peter Wilson, the CCS Mobility parking manager, will be presenting the research and making suggestions at the conference.

Parking has become a major issue in New Zealand's cities and more than a million parking fines are issued in New Zealand every year.

Delegates representing over 45 local authorities, airport companies and major car park operators will attend the four-day event.

Car-parking rates as one of the issues of the 21st century and Waite said the problem was not confined to big cities as it regularly reared its head in smaller towns, with local councils debating over inconsiderate drivers parking illegally for hours in restricted areas.

Parking fines have also not kept pace with the cost of parking a vehicle in an authorised area. In some cities it costs more to park legally than a $12 parking infringement notice for parking over the time limit.

Many larger city councils are pursuing initiatives to reduce car use and ease parking congestion.

``Our main aim is to allow the general motoring public to have access to inner-city parking. If drivers operated within the law then there would be no need to issue infringement notices,’’ he said.

ENDS

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