Parking rules are only for some

If you make the rules, then perhaps you should play by them.

'It's simple,” says Tauranga man Patrick Thomas. 'One rule for everyone. That's fair.”

TCC work cars spotted parked on The Strand extension behind Westpac building.

Patrick is a retired electrician, a ratepayer and a shrewd observer. And what he's been observing lately is something he's believes is a breach of power and privilege.

'It gets up my nose,” says Patrick. He's observed Tauranga City Council parking its work cars in The Strand extension behind its offices in the Westpac bank building.

The cars are parked on metered parking spaces. And here's the rub. 'I notice the council isn't paying to park the cars there, it's not feeding the meter.” And what's more it seems the council is enjoying immunity from its own bylaws. 'The cars aren't being ticketed.”

He recommended Sun Media go see for itself. So we did.

It was 10.50am on Monday morning. There were three council vehicles in pay-for-use carparks on The Strand extension. They were a Ford utility EML790, a Daihatsu EQG508 and a Suzuki HZU508. All had TCC livery. None displayed parking receipts and all three were parked for at least half an hour. And no tickets.

'Just three cars?” says Patrick. 'I have seen as many as 10 – and it gets up my nose. Because other people get parking tickets. And I don't think the council should be above the law, especially their own law.”

And, says Patrick, the council is depriving ratepayers who are willing to pay a premium for CBD parking. 'They even park with impunity on the loading zones if all the carparks are full.”

Patrick is a local – he lives at the end of The Strand extension – and when he wanders up to the library he 'observes” and takes a mental note of registration numbers.

'When I'm heading home the majority of the council cars are still there.” For example, he says, last Friday one car, fleet number 714, was on a metered space for two-and-a-half to three hours.

He raised the issue with lawmakers and the perpetrators – both of whom are the Tauranga City Council.

'I went into the council; they were up front and honest. I was told there's some disagreement. Someone's saying council shouldn't have to pay for parking while someone else was saying: ‘Yes they do' because essentially they are just members of the public when driving a vehicle.”

Patrick followed up his visit to the council with a couple of phone calls because nothing had changed. '‘It was in hand,' they told me. Department heads were being consulted to resolve the problem.”

And in a second conversation he was told the respective departmental heads would be spoken to yet again.

So is there one rule for ratepayers and another for council? Are they above the law? Sun Media went to Tauranga City Council's transportation manager Martin Parkes.

'Under the Traffic and Parking Bylaw 2012, branded TCC vehicles may park free of charge in any parking space, provided the officer is engaged in council work.”

However, Martin says they should only be parked there for short periods.

The council agrees with Patrick – that on-street carparks should, in the main, be available for ratepayers coming to the city centre for business or pleasure.

The council's been looking for alternative staff parking and has created a newly marked-out parking area on the southern end of the waterfront.

'That should ease the need for council parking on The Strand extension and also address concerns raised by our community,” says Martin.

'Some council vehicles will still be on The Strand extension, but only for short periods.”

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Nothing new

Posted on 17-06-2016 11:57 | By Towball

This country is accustomed to double standards.

pay rates no park

Posted on 17-06-2016 11:58 | By hapukafin

The council is collecting premium rates from the retailers and occupying the car parks so shoppers cant shop in the CBD

I rest my case

Posted on 17-06-2016 12:12 | By The Sage

So they Council vehicle are taking up parks, and not paying, hence preventing people coming into town on business or to shop, from parking there. This, in turn, is a further deterrent to the CBD. Shame on them. On top of this they want o build a $65 million building in the CBD. The Council does not need to be in the CBD. Get a building slightly out of town, that provides parking for Council cars and customers. This is what Trustpower should have done. Two huge burgeoning Commercial businesses driving people out of the city. Last one out turn out the lights. The poor retailers.

Sorry guys

Posted on 17-06-2016 12:33 | By Gigilo

The meters are about to get a rain coat that says "reserved parking unauthorized vehicles will be towed". Don't you love people with power.


Posted on 17-06-2016 12:55 | By Mousetrap

How did Trustpower get resource consent without anywhere near enough inner city parks? Only now is the Elizabeth St parking building being extended. Meanwhile, council are increasing the cost of leased parks because (quoting them) "The demand is so high now"

Some questions.

Posted on 17-06-2016 13:07 | By CC8

Who is parking in the council's own free spaces behind the doomed civic buildings or are they empty? Perhaps staff should take the 5 minute walk between Westpac and the old building.... the exercise wouldn't hurt a lot of them. Are non council vehicles who do park there paying? Is it council business when a staff member takes half an hour to drop off and/or pick up their children from kindergarten/daycare in a marked council car,while the said car is parked on a bus stop ?

Hey Gigilo

Posted on 17-06-2016 13:08 | By CC8

Is that like the one on the meter outside the Hotel on Devonport, which has been in place for years??

Who Cares

Posted on 17-06-2016 14:04 | By tgacentral

Petty journalism at best. They have to park somewhere and either way the council pays! Once again people are just stirring and trying to find a way to distract council from what they're really here to do. The parks behind the civic building where also never free and are still for public use..

No wonder I can't find a parking space!

Posted on 17-06-2016 14:16 | By Linaire

I agree with The Sage "I rest my case". Why are the Council allowed to park there? No wonder I have to drive around and around and around town, trying to find a park ... it completely puts me off shopping in the CBD. If the Council had to try and find a park after 10 in the CBD they would have to do the same! It's totally unfair that WE are paying, and they are not! Also, if there is to be a new Council building, it should be slightly out of town, with a parking building if necessary, so there are more parking spaces for the rest of us. Trustpower shifting into the city was the worst decision ever, as now the parking buildings are full by 10! Ridiculous!!

It says it all.......

Posted on 17-06-2016 14:32 | By Ghost


Posted on 17-06-2016 14:35 | By Jimmy Ehu

Petty journalism?, get over yourself!!!!, your response reeks of a council employee?.


Posted on 17-06-2016 15:08 | By Kenworthlogger

Should be treated the same as anyone else and have to park 2 kilometers away from where they want to be and walk. No double standards please.

Jimmy Ehu

Posted on 17-06-2016 15:53 | By tgacentral

Tauranga is the 5th biggest city in NZ. Council using council parks to do council work is about as petty as journalism gets!

I wonder...

Posted on 17-06-2016 16:10 | By GreertonBoy

If I spray TCC on my car (make it look a bit real) if I could get away with parking there?

Listen to yourselves

Posted on 17-06-2016 17:11 | By flipper

Think about it for more than 2 seconds, if they pay who do you think picks up the bill anyway. While I do agree they shouldn't pretend they are on council business when they are sitting at their desks paying for parking would only add admin cost to you and I. Parking during the business day would be reimbursed by council (read ratepayers) and now we have impacted a meter reader, an admin/finance person and the person using the parking spot - surely it is cheaper for all of us they way it is?


Posted on 17-06-2016 19:21 | By Capt_Kaveman

needs the boot

So, why wasn't this an issue when.

Posted on 17-06-2016 20:19 | By groutby

.the council were in the "old" building soon to be demolished and new offices built to further "clog up" the city centre and keep shoppers out?..when we (ratepayers) lease many parks under the Quest building, and the park behind the "old" building is still available to them?..laziness and lack of motivation come to mind perhaps..oh jeez, sounds like the council itself..not sure I would agree with one comment tho, the Council should not really be considered a "Commercial" business (The Sage), as my understanding of a commercial business is that it actually EARNS money for goods and services, NOT take it freely on demand.


Posted on 18-06-2016 06:42 | By Jimmy Ehu

well there ya go, here was I thinking they were public parking spaces, I really should have known that Council employees can park where ever they want in Council sign written vehicles and not be bothered by parking wardens!.

I wish council would

Posted on 18-06-2016 14:27 | By earlybird

conduct an experiment with CBD parking. I vote that for a period of one month council resolve to allow unrestricted free parking in the CBD. You whiners & whingers would really have something to moan about then as there wouldn't be any free spaces between 8 and 5 as they would all be filled by shop assistants & office workers - think about it whingers - is that what you want?


Posted on 18-06-2016 17:53 | By groutby

I can't say I understand your logic and would like to know more of how a month's free parking would prove anything. Of course it would be chaos..that's our sad human nature, if I can get something for free then "I'll take it and to hell with anyone else" will be the result..proving what exactly?. I reckon the underlying issue here is that because they are "in control" over the parking in the Tauranga region from TCC, no thought need be given to people (shoppers/tourists and the like that wish to LEGITIMATELY use the parking spaces in the area,and just MAYBE some wealthy shop assistants or office workers if they could afford it. Earlybird, the point perhaps is, certain downtown employees (let's call them Council workers)have a "perceived" right to break their own rules and a "blind eye" given by fellow Council workers...are we really good with this?...what's next?

CBD Parking is NOT FREE at anytime

Posted on 20-06-2016 09:41 | By Murray.Guy

The removal of the double dipping revenue collecting pay twice for parking devices at street level would have absolutely NO im[pact on parking availability and management other than to put the CBD on exactly the same footing at the Mount CBD, Greerton and every other shop ping and business area in our city. The restricted time zones would still apply and be monitored. On street curb side parking 'city wide' has been paid for through rates and an NZTA subsidy in the CBD, just as it has outside our homes. No different. There has NEVER been any valid, integrity applied rational that supports the double dipping charges in the CBD other than a cash cow to subsidize parking buildings and non parking related initiatives. All shopping and business precincts should be treated equally, city wide. In regards TrustPower, it was the Council who removed the developer contributions to parking.


Posted on 21-06-2016 14:08 | By Confused

Council policy dictates that staff are personally liable for any fines or infringements they occur while in control of a council vehicle. If the guilty drivers are not being fines then someone is not carrying out their duty. The parking officer should be ticketing ALL vehicles violating the parking bylaws and leaving it up to management to pass the ticket on to the driver. Vehicles parked outside TCC can not be claimed to be on council business as they are parked at the office and are therefore not being used for any business at all. Parking wardens not ticketing their mates sounds like corruption to me.

Dear Murray

Posted on 21-06-2016 14:24 | By Crash test dummies

The issue is that work vehicles are taking prime parking spots that should be available for shoppers. These vehicles are parking on the road because there is very little parking onsite at the Westpac building. To apply the proper rules would be that they park up on Cliff Road, that is what TCC thinks everyone else should do and pay for, so why not these as well. After all if these Muppets had not planned on and have deleted the waterfront parking then this would not be an issue would it, that there are just not enough car parks around the place.

Dear Jaffa (I actually am a jaffa fan)

Posted on 21-06-2016 17:25 | By Murray.Guy

Totally agree that TCC staff should not be abusing their position and comply with present parking provisions. The time restrictions are specifically to encourage vehicle turnover and discourage local workers. These should be monitored and any fines PAID by the employee responsible, NOT the ratepayer, just as in the real world. All that aside, to be respected the City Council has to demonstrate that it respects the community, the rate paying property and business owners in the CBD for whom assessable parking for their customers is a critical fact NOT acknowledged by TCC or its elected members.

@ Murray

Posted on 22-06-2016 16:13 | By Crash test dummies

What is happening here is that TCC staff are taking advantage ahead and above all others, sadly they think that they re "entitled" to this because they are soooooo important and what they do is soooooo vital that everything else is just in their way. It is simply an utter arrogance. They should park where CBD beyond where the real CBD works park, they should pay and they should be fined for parking as shown above, they should pay personally, end of story.

Giglio is probably right.

Posted on 22-06-2016 18:22 | By morepork

The obvious solution for the TCC is raincoated reserved parking. Don't like it? Get a job on the Council... :-) There is an argument that says they shouldn't have to pay when on duty, but the problem is seeing they don't abuse the privilege. It is all too hard and the line of least resistance is to simply reserve parking spaces for council cars. The Sage is right that they should be based out of town. It depends on what we want the CBD to be; a commercial centre or an administrative one. Personally, I don't care where they park because I never shop in town any more. Linaire, the only good thing about banging your head against a wall is that it's nice when you stop...

@Patrick Thomas

Posted on 22-06-2016 18:28 | By morepork

"One rule for everyone" is indeed fair but it will never be implemented by a bureaucracy that answers to no-one. And, as several people pointed out, no matter how they do it, it is always us ratepayers who will pay for it. Maybe just let them have their parks and avoid the costs of ticketing them and processing the tickets, then waiving the fines?


Posted on 26-06-2016 15:53 | By NotNat

I am slightly confused by 'either way the council pays' comment - the council has NEVER paid for my $15 a day parking? How brilliant though - where do I sign up so the Council pays?

@ NotNat

Posted on 27-06-2016 17:32 | By Crash test dummies

The cost falls on ratepayers either way, that is what is meant. Either TCC pays the parking fro its vehicles to be nice and handy for its staff = ratepayers pay. Or a parking sock is provided by TCC for staff to use and as you may have guessed ratepayers pay ... when you let these morons lose in the cake tin then what else can you expect to happen?

Is it bad now?

Posted on 29-06-2016 16:00 | By Crash test dummies

Wait until TCC double the staff numbers in the next year or so, where are they all going to park? Obvious answer is in the streets and that OBVIOUSLY means no parking left for the shoppers, they are the ones who make the "HEART OF THE CITY" come alive not the officials sucking the life out of everything else.

What is the problem

Posted on 12-07-2016 14:49 | By woodroffe

I am yet to go to the CBD and NOT find a park. Yes I go at varying times on varying days. Tauranga has grown but not the expectation that you will park immediately outside your shop or building destination. Are we wanting our council to spend money on building or creating more carparks? Who is to pay for that?

@ woodroffe

Posted on 15-07-2016 12:28 | By Crash test dummies

duh ratepayers yet again

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