Vehicle fines not being paid
Porirua parking wardens have issued over $ 280,000 worth of fines to unwarranted and unregistered vehicles this year – but less than one in 10 appear to be paying them.
Only 124 of the 1400 fines issued in the past seven months have been paid, a return of $25,200.
Porirua City Council parking wardens took on the duty of issuing tickets for unlicensed and unregistered vehicles from police in February.
Failure to display up-to-date warrants of fitness, certificate of fitness (for heavy vehicles) and registrations incur $200 fines.
The council’s general manager of environment and regulatory services David Rolfe said the intention was to ensure safer Porirua roads, getting unroadworthy cars off the street.
But with less than 9 per cent of motorists fined experiencing a financial penalty to date, were fines still an effective deterrent?
Mr Rolfe says the remaining notices ‘‘are at various stages in the enforcement process’’.
‘‘This can take anywhere up to six months . . . after which it will be sent to the courts.
‘‘You get issued the notice, but you might have cause to protest it, then you might be sent a reminder – it can be a long process.’’
He said there was ‘‘no real pattern’’ to the number of fines issued month- to- month, but there appeared to be a downward trend in the number of fines issued.
Expired registrations contributed $165,000 worth of tickets to the $281,400 total.
New government figures show the amount of fines and reparation ordered has fallen more than 25 per cent in the past three years, through falling crime rates and ‘‘smarter enforcement’’, said Courts Minister Chester Borrows.
About 90 per cent of $600 million in fines owed nationwide are for traffic offences, and a proposed initiative could see persistent fine dodgers lose their driver licence until outstanding amounts are paid.
Automobile Association principal advisor Mark Stockdale told Kapi-Mana News more warrant of fitness and registration fines figures need to be made public.
‘‘Anecdotally, the AA believes there has been an increase in the non-compliance of WOF and rego payments and this could reflect the economic situation.
‘‘Money is tight and jobs less certain, so people cut back. The cost to register a car is quite high and these have increased in recent years due to ACC costs.’’
Mr Stockdale says instead of large fines that people can’t or won’t pay, demerit points may be a better way to get the message through.
‘‘Losing your licence is a huge deterrent; people on a low income might not be able to afford to pay, but they are very fearful of losing their licence.’’
Mr Rolfe said parking wardens check cars in the outer suburbs once a week, but the checking of warrants of fitness and registrations is mostly limited to the central business district.
Brotherly love: Five-year-old Whitby boy Will Griffiths pulled his little sister from the path of their father’s
reversing car last week.