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Parking cheats about to get thumped

Parking cheats about to get thumped with hefty fines if they park in mobility spaces

From Thursday, motorists who park in mobility car parking spaces are about to get thumped with hefty fines.

A new law begins from June 26 which lifts the fine for parking in a disabled car park from $40 to $150.

New Zealand Parking Association chairman Colin Waite said some motorists looking for an easy park had been cheating for too long and he hoped the new law would act as a deterrent.

Last year, a hotline was set up in New South Wales to allow people to report someone they suspected abusing the disability parking scheme. Their parking officers found when it rains there are less disabled spaces bays free in supermarkets car parks.

Thursday becomes D Day for lazy and self-centred New Zealand motorists who unlawfully park in mobility spaces.

The only people allowed to use car parks for the mobility impaired, are people or drivers whose disabilities meet a strict criteria and who cannot walk unaided, or have extreme difficulty in walking and are displaying recognised parking permits.

The reserved car-parks are larger than standard parks, to allow room to unload wheelchairs or other mobility aids, from vehicles.

Waite said the New Zealand Parking Association fully endorsed the tougher fines.

``It is infuriating for disabled people to see people abusing these special parking spaces. This tougher fine should significantly reduce the problem for them,’’ Waite said.

Waite said there was also an onus on mobility card holders to display their permits correctly. Card holders have been advised of their responsibilities in both a letter and an information brochure posted out to the card holder by CCS Disability Action.

If they fail to display their card in a clear and prominent position, they could also receive a $150 parking infringement notice. If they want the parking officials to support them then they must do their part too.

``I will be recommending that parking wardens around New Zealand adopt a zero tolerance to mobility parking offending. Some councils have become very proactive and are already ticketing and towing offending vehicles from disability parking spaces.’’

The issue of mobility parking will be among issues discussed at the 25th New Zealand parking conference in Taupo in October.


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