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Public service fallen off the radar

=Wednesday October 5

Public service fallen off the radar – says NZ Parking chairman Colin Waite

The old fashioned virtue of public service seems to have fallen off the radar, New Zealand Parking Association chairman Colin Waite said today.

At the opening of the New Zealand Parking Association’s annual conference in Hamilton today, he said public service excellence is a worthy title and should be a key focus for all NZ parking officers in their interactions with the public.

``There is definite room for improvement by us all,’’ he said.

``But is a customer someone whose vehicle has just been issued an infringement notice or is it the person who can drive to their intended destination, park the vehicle legally and then depart the area all within the time limit allowed?

``I lean towards the latter however many others may beg to differ. Whatever we and our staff do in our daily lives the old fashioned virtue of public service seems to have fallen off the radar.

``Public service excellence is a worthy title and should be a key focus for all of us in our interactions with the public

``Our on road staff are our best forms of advertising but sometimes they can be our worst.’’

One major council spent many thousands of dollars in focus groups, letters to offenders and face to face interviews with the motoring public.

The purpose was to find out what the public wanted in a parking officer, he said.

They were surprised when the major finding was: `an open and friendly face; some one who looked smart and well presented and wore the uniform with pride and respect; someone who could answer their questions and explain why the notice was issued’.
``You wouldn’t think this was a difficult task however practice is often harder than the preaching.’’

Customer service, clamping issues, pay and display, recruiting, wheel clamping, infringement reviews, new legislation, road user rules and mobility parking are other issues to be discussed at the conference.

Parking is becoming a major issue in New Zealand's cities. Mr Waite estimated well over a million parking fines were issued in New Zealand every year by local authorities.

Keynote conference speakers include Bryan Travers from Auckland University, Professor Richard Buchanan from Massey University, Owen Lee-Cusack from Drake Personnel and Tere Ryan from the ICON Group.

Other speakers are the Ministry of Justice, Land Transport NZ, and the Ministry of Transport.

Delegates attending will be representing over 50 local authorities and one international airport company who all carry out parking enforcement in New Zealand.

The annual awards for parking excellence will be presented during the conference. The awards recognise contributions to the industry as well as acknowledging struggles that some parking wardens have in their cities.


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