Do you put money in the parking meter? [POLL]

When I lived in Wellington I’d park my car on the street rather than in car park buildings. I almost never put money in the meter and took the risk of getting a ticket.

I averaged about one $10 fine a week which was really cheap parking.

In Auckland I sometimes do this, and get away with it more often than not…though the fines are a bit steeper, and there are some places that it is unwise to even try.

Deborah Hill Cone uses this method too.

I don’t gamble, I don’t take drugs, I pay my GST, but I do have my own secret vice. I never buy pay and display parking vouchers. I just take the punt that I won’t get a parking ticket. And then if I do get a fine – this week $12 for five hours in the hairdresser on Ponsonby Rd – quite reasonable really – I just put it in the pile and later go online and pay them all at once.

This seems to work quite efficiently as a system. It bypasses the time and effort of standing in a line and finding change or trying to work the complicated texting option. It also gives me a wanton buzz of being naughty and, just for a moment, defying the Big Brother machinery of bureaucracy; the cheap thrill of rebellion alone is probably worth the price of any parking tickets I incur.

And every time you return to your car and find there is no fluttering ticket under your windscreen wiper you get a little frisson of victory. Yes!   

Given the cost of parking in central Auckland I suspect I actually save money by taking this approach, although I have never crunched the numbers.

Yes, I realise my calculations do not factor in the inconvenience of getting towed, although this has not happened to me yet.

Also, I realise it is anti-social, as if everyone took my approach the system would cease to function and chaos would ensue with the eventual breakdown of civilisation and life as we know it.

But as compensation, perhaps in recognition of the satisfaction I get from my mini-rebellion, I am always unfailingly courteous to parking wardens.

“How’s it going? You’re doing a great job!”

What about you readers?

Do you feed the meter, use the pay and display?

Let’s find out.

Do you feed the meter?

View Results

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– NZ Herald



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  • Damon Mudgway

    Frog Parking in Palmy Nth makes it impossible NOT to get a ticket for not putting money in the meter. Hence a generally deserted main street and many grumpy small business owners.

    • mommadog

      Parking issues help ruin many an inner city. Hamilton has expensive and annoying city parking (annoying because you have to return to the meter every hour – there is no 2-hour option) with enough parking wardens to make not paying very risky. Although depending on how long I think I will be and what time of the day I have taken the odd risk. What do the majority do that don’t want to hassle with parking – shop at Westfield Chartwell or at the Base. Free parking at both and pretty much the same stores everywhere now. The downtown mall was done up to try to attract shoppers and its good but not good enough to make me want to deal with the parking issues when I have the choice to go elsewhere. If councils want to keep inner cities alive try free parking.

      • Damon Mudgway

        Councils argument is always that they need the revenue from parking meters and their enforcement to assist keeping rates down. In Palmerston North they also use the excuse that they rigorously enforce parking so as to give everyone equal opportunity to enjoy shopping in the CBD. A farcical reason in that we are talking Palmerston North. Our Council planners seem to have the mistaken belief we live in a vibrant and highly populated megalopolis. Sadly it appears our town planning staff don’t get out much.

        • Platinum Fox

          In Auckland, the Council’s argument is that restricting parking and meters allow parking spaces to be more readily available for those needing a park.

          That argument is a crock, as it’s not uncommon after 5 p.m. for me to see a parking warden ticketing a car parked in a time restricted zone surrounded by vacant spaces. The restrictions run until 6 p.m.!

        • Bobb

          All 300 of them??

  • Ford

    If there is time left on the ticket when I leave the carpark, I always either put it back in the ticket machine or give it to someone about to put money in it which makes me a real model citizen. I always appreciate when a fellow motorist gives the same courtesy.

    • TSD

      Unfortunately the frog system in Palmy prevents people doing this, it’s actually a great example of how to kill a city. Particularly as the plaza has plenty of parking.

      • Mark

        Wow,I went & googled about this,oh I do love the Law of Unintended Consequences!

        • Damon Mudgway

          If Frog Parking have their way, it’s coming to a town near you. They are looking for investors for expansion too.

          • Mark

            I am sure they are,would be interesting to see the stats on revenue vs’ cost of implementing. I suspect what Palmerston North Council really needs is a bridge with bus lanes they can fine cars for using. ;)

          • Damon Mudgway

            What Palmerston North Council really needs is an enema.

    • Pharmachick

      Me too. I also add quarters to meters (not mine) if I see the parking wardens coming and they’re out of time – I figure if they’re genuinely running ~10 mins late, I’ve saved them a $25-50 fine [not in NZ] and if they’re longer than that, well they probably were planning on taking the fine or don’t care.

  • Mags

    Palmerston North is not the place to try this. In fact for a while every time I went into town I’d get a ticket. Bad management on my part but I decided to manage my problem by not going into town. This strategy has saved me heaps and I feel is lot calmer.

  • Aucky

    Yes I always do not because I am a model citizen but the more civic revenue that can be gathered from non-rates sources the better. I occasionally use public transport too and despite being entitled to free travel as a Goldcard holder always pay my way because I can afford it. Parking fee dodgers are just straight out bludgers on the rest of us.

  • ex-JAFA

    With the price of parking in Tauranga being so low ($1, $2 and $3 zones – although I think the $3 ones have been scrapped), it’s hardly worthwhile not paying.

    Hill-Cone must be a special kind of special if she thinks txt-a-park is complicated. Send a five-digit code to a four-digit number (which would already be in your phone from previous times) – yeah, reeeeeal tricky!

    EDIT: Confirmed $3 zones are now $2 zones.

    • Bobb

      It’s not complicated…… just doesn’t work much of the time.

    • James

      Not complicated; just only works 25% of the time!

  • Curly1952

    I park in 60 minute slots outside work and check from time to time that the car has been marked by the wardens as the parking building is too far away. Contract parking around work is $20 to $25 per week. We have been in our building for over 2 years now I have had 2 $12 tickets – pretty cheap parking I would suggest!

  • caochladh

    I always pay. With my luck, the car would be clamped or towed.

  • Captain Darling

    I’m pretty sure in Auckland City having no ticket gets you a $40 fine and an expired ticket gets you a $12 fine, so I usually pay for a $2 ticket and take my chances.

  • peterwn

    With the old Duncan-Millar turn-handle meters a student going to ATI would put a shilling in and not turn the handle. Wardens always turned the handle and did not issue a ticket if it put time on. He came back one day knocked the meter but just could not get the shilling to pop out.

    • mommadog

      I would pay to use a certain car park building years ago as it was close to work on rainy days. I would park elsewhere and walk the distance on fine days. Automatic arm up to enter the building and self pay booth then ticket in the slot to get the arm up when leaving. One day a couple of my work colleagues mentioned they never pay. After getting them to spill the secret the arm at the exit was timed to come down very slowly so if you tailgated and followed another car out two cars got through easily. I tried it and it worked for several months. Finally parking management caught on and the timing was changed on the arm so if you tried to tailgate the arm came down on the second car. It was good while it lasted.

      • Justsayn

        Wasn’t that just theft?

        The other day I saw a kid (looked 13ish) at the supermarket. He had put some lollies into a bag at the bulk bin section, and put it on the weight machine to produce a ticket with the price on it. As he weighed it he held onto the bag and took a little of the weight off the machine. It took him several attempts to get a ticket he was happy with. It stuck that on and walked off.

        Is that okay by you? Happy for your kids to do that?

        I felt I should do something, but didn’t want to waste my time going to find someone to tell, so I just made it obvious I was watching him. He looked at me like it was nothing out of the norm!

        • pak

          Theft to me in both cases and not O.K.. If you start compromising your values on small things it can become a slippery slope to justifying anything you think you can get away with. Usually at the expense of someone else. Ultimately though you are the loser.

  • RobT

    The law is toothless, many never pay their fines and flaunt their chance of ever being brought to account.

  • JC

    It doesn’t matter whether I want to pay or not because 90% of the time I have no cash on me. If they want me to pay for parking they’ll have to set up a system where I can use the card.. otherwise I don’t pay.


    • Pharmachick

      Here in Vancouver we have pay-by-phone. Its linked up to your nominated credit card, and each meter has a unique identifier. Plus they text you 10 mins before it runs out. Meters have a max of either 2 or 3 hours and you can only top up to the maximum of 2X the max. Totally AWESOME system and has saved us many a time at dinner. Also, all the centralized parking building electronic systems have card swipes. The Canadians are on to it :-)

      • david

        you can do the same in wellington.

        • Pharmachick

          Good to hear. Given the convenience of such a system, there’s not much excuse to try and buck it … unless the fines are less than the tariff (??).

  • Phoenician

    I don’t think civilisation as we know it would crumble if no one paid for parking; after attempts at effecting compliance (e.g. publicity campaigns, etc.) had failed, the approach would turn to enforcement with “user pays” structured fines and more “collections” staff. They’d get the money, one way or the other.
    As you say, Deborah, you’re a naughty girl… but I like you!

  • jonno1

    I’m happy to pay my way, but there’s another angle to this: corrupt parking wardens. I’ve received fraudulent tickets on three occasions. (1) Standing by my car looking in a shop window within the time limit (car visible in reflection), turning round and finding a ticket that must have been placed the second I walked away. (2) Car parked in Domain, left within prescribed time, later the same day re-parked in a different spot, also within time limit, ticketed for 4+ hours. (3) Parked for brunch at 11am, returned 11.45am, wheel chalked with start time of 10.30am and car already ticketed for exceeding one hour limit. Warden denied everything until I managed to find some CCTV footage. Then it became a mistake. Yeah, right! Council really needs to get its stuff together.

    • Dr Wang

      Exactly jonno1 – same thing happened to me down in Wellywood recently, warden had “backdated” the start time 10mins to enable the infringement notice to be issued. Scum.

  • Tony

    When in Wellington and I get a fine then i do my public duty. I demand to go to Court and the fine increases from $40 to $80 but the traffic warden is in Court for the morning and not able to make his quota!

  • Greg M

    Always do. But… I strongly object when the parking gestapo at the Takapuna shopping centre ticket me $12 for staying 4 minutes over the 1 hour I paid for. Complaining to council results in a lengthy phone discussion with some moron with an IQ lower than the average house plant and no resolution.
    Until they sort it out I won’t go any where near Takapuna shops.

    • NZ 2014

      Yep Greg they are particularly nasty in Taka………saw an old man park his car and have to walk about 20 m to a meter by the time he came back a warden was about to ticket his car, he stopped him from doing so but wow that warden was on to it.

  • RockinBob625

    $12 Fine – sign me up for Civil Disobedience now. Given the parking in Auckland ran to $4 hour I thought the fines would be huge also. If that is the true fine, I will never fill the meters in Auckland again. Sorry Auckland ratepayers, I will not fund your council for you!

  • stanace

    That is disappointing in so many ways. Civilisation would break down and life as we know it would end etc ha ha, supposedly humour, not.
    Firstly, where do you draw the line?
    Is it OK to drive at 140, because you rarely get caught?Is it OK to pick some flowers in the park?
    I use that latter example because that is what I taught my kids when they were young.
    We were walking in the park and the youngest saw some very pretty flowers and asked if he could pick some. I told him if you did that, then it would be OK for others to do the same, and then there would be none left.
    They got the message, why don’y you, even though you know its wrong.
    The rule is simple, If its not OK for every one to do it, then its not OK.
    And that is why when someone passes me at 140, I get annoyed, because, quite simply, they think the rules don’t apply to them. Of course if everyone drove at that speed, there would be chaos, and accidents.
    In this case if everyone did what smarty pants Deborah does, the fines would then go up proportionally, and there would be no upside.
    I hate the parking meter costs, but that is not the point, is it?
    And the voting is more than disappointing too, although I assume some are tongue in cheek.

  • Warren Murray

    Councils make BIG money from parking infringements. Some are also into issuing $200 infringements for cars with expired registrations or WOF, although I’m not sure how much of that money goes back to the Council. AFAIC those people who drive on expired regos / WOFs are ratbags who deserve everything they get.

    Back to the point though, it’s a hell if a risk of the Council has time issuing receipts for their parking. As one other person has noted, depending on where you are, it can be a $40 fine for failing to display your receipt, compared to, say $12 for parking over time.

    Wellington rakes in $millions from parking control, even easier money if you contract it out.

    As the Government already knows, gouging motorists is a handy alternative to jacking the rates. It took Wellington a very long time to give up the roving camera car. Originally introduced as a school safety measure, it was soon diverted to more lucrative routes, making huge money for WCC. But the cost in goodwill eventually led to being withdrawn.

    • Warren Murray

      BTW, after one $40 ticket, I always pay the meter, and don’t regard myself as a model citizen.

    • peterwn

      The two old geezers who emptied Wellington’s parking meters found it easy money until they were caught candid camera style. The advent of $1 and $2 coins were great for them, they could cram in a bigger value of coins in their spectacle cases. When found out the Council promptly put meter emptying to Armourguard.

  • Sundreamer

    I always pay the meter when there is one, but we go to a popular city eatery every Wednesday night and there is little parking anywhere near it. We always park in one of 3 no-parking zones (not inconveniencing anyone) and in 3 years have not received a ticket.

    • Aucky

      Your time will come SD. Be prepared to suffer all the indignities and expense of uplifting your car from the city pound.

  • Mark

    When the council removed most of the motorcycle parking & made it illegal for motorcycles to park in the Pay & Display parks I stopped paying for parking in the vehicle I use for work,I’ll pay the fine if I get one as it is my choice.
    Oh & I used to pay for metered parking on the bike & yes I do have a way to display the ticket if it was legal for me to do so now.
    Yes the council has made it free to park motorcycles in council run parking buildings,but they do seem to be selling these off to Wilsons.
    Wilsons are actually pretty tolerant of bikes using “spaces” not suitable for cars,I would pay if requested.

  • gambler

    I pay every time but I discovered 1 of the ticketing machines has a fault and all I have to do is insert $1 and the ticket prints out saying I have 24 hours parking… worked every time in the weekend but havent tried it during the week… and I cant say where it is or lenny will be on to it, faster than a rat up a drainpipe

  • dgrogan

    Are you not at all bothered by the ethics of stealing from the ACC coffers, Cam? I expect rate payers will have to make it up though, right?

  • Wheninrome

    If it is a good law play the game. If it is not society as a whole will seek change

  • Allan

    As I ride a Motorcycle (aka two wheeled death trap) I never pay for parking anyway :D

  • Mags

    Understand that they are thrilled (sarc). The tickets ruined my shopping experience. Why should I spend several hundred in town and then feel annoyed by the ticket I had received. I just opted out of feeling annoyed.

  • Joe_Bloggs

    Ignoring the poll for now… ‘cos I am dumbstruck that Hill-Cone could spend five hours in a hairdresser’s… big-noting conspicuous consumption or what???

  • Phill

    Another Lefty that thinks she’s above the law.
    Apparently she can run a consulting business, but cant work out the complicated txt 2 park option. Gimmie a break. Mist be nice to have a bimbo card to play. Be nice to a parking warden, that will make up for it. (Yeah right)
    I always pay because Lens parking Nazi’s have increased their activity. Bunch of vultures if you ask me. I live in the city and have known people to get tickets in a pay and display at 9.58pm. (Had paid until 9.45. Its free after 10)

  • Mags

    At least two of the mayoral candidates for the bye-election are trying to get our votes by supporting 1 hour free parking. However the council seemed unable to do this when the parking fiasco occurred so not sure how a mayor with one vote can change that now. Presumably the business that owns the parking building wouldn’t be too happy.

  • Asian_driver

    I often pay the smallest amount the machine will take , it might give me 3 minutes or something like that. Put the ticket in the window then overpark. the fine for not displaying a ticket is around $40, but parking on an expired ticket is only about $12

  • WallyAnchor

    I try not to go anywhere that I need to pay for parking. Only once in the last probably 6 months. I paid but I always underestimate how long I’ll be. No ticket (Christchurch).

  • Steve (North Shore)

    Hill Cone is not doing her bit for Uncle Len’s Train Set, therefore leaving the Ratepayers to pay for her cheating. Is she another chardonnay socialist?
    Try it on at the Airport.
    And yeah I did see her 3 disclaimers. She should get a job at the Herald – or TV3