Ve­hi­cle fines not be­ing paid

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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