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Law change move afoot to stamp out mobility cheats

Media release – November 26, 2006

Law change moves afoot to stamp out mobility cheats

Moves are afoot to prevent motorists cheating on mobility car parking and the Government is considering law changes.

Transport officials, the New Zealand Parking Association and CCS held recent talks with Transport Minister Annette King to discuss concerns relating to mobility parking.

A CCS study this year found that more than half of all cars in mobility car parks were parked illegally.

New Zealand Parking Association chairman Colin Waite said discussion centred on making mobility parking a specific provision in the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 with its own penalty.

``Taking the mobility parking privilege away from local authority bylaws will allow a more consistent level of service and delivery as well as putting in place definitive instructions on how the mobility parking permit is to be displayed and used,’’ Waite said.

`` I would also like to see the infringement fee ($40) increased to where it is punitive and a penalty for those who abuse the scheme.

``We need to get real and have a decent sanction for those who offend. Our $40 is chicken feed compared to England & Scotland $2926.50, New South Wales $454 to $545 and Chicago $784.25.

``At the moment we are powerless to enforce in private car parks, like shopping malls where heartless cheats prey upon the mobility impaired by parking in spaces where they are not entitled.’’

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.

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

In July, CCS, the disability support and advocacy group, launched the ‘Caught’ campaign. The campaign aimed to reduce misuse of mobility parks and highlighted that 80,000 New Zealanders use these parks to access their communities.

Research conducted by CCS prior to the campaign found more than half of all cars in mobility parks were parked illegally and 11 percent 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, disturbing and it’s basically taking away the right of access to the community for a large number of people within our society’’ Waite said.

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

CCS has recently completed new research that shows this latest publicity has had no impact on the level of misuse of mobility parks.

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

CCS mobility parking manager Peter Wilson said it was a shocking indictment on New Zealand’s cheating motorists and how their actions exclude mobility parking permit holders from accessing and contributing to the community.

“We should be truly ashamed. New Zealand’s rate of the misuse of mobility parks is twice that of the UK. It’s an indication of how our society views disabled and elderly people.’’


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