Council enters residential properties at 3am to issue parking tickets

by Kim Bowden - Jul 05, 2024

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is defending middle of the night ticketing of vehicles parked on residential driveways.

However Crux is aware of some Queenstowners who are challenging the practice, arguing they feel uncomfortable with parking infringement officers entering their properties while the household is sleeping.

Crux has seen evidence of parking tickets dished out between 3am and 4am in Lake Hayes Estate.

The crux of the issue for the council is people parking vehicles so they hang over from private property onto public footpaths.

They say this can obstruct the footpath for other users.

But a Lake Hayes resident who spoke to Crux after receiving a ticket thinks this explanation from the council is weak, as few pedestrians are out and about in the wee hours of the morning.

They say to place a ticket on their vehicle windscreen, the person dishing it out would have walked within metres of their young child's bedroom, and they do not think this is acceptable at that time of night.

But the council maintains its parking monitoring and enforcement is a "24/7 operation" to benefit the "community as a whole".

In response to questioning by Crux, a council spokesperson says the work is carried out in line with both national legislation and a local bylaw.

"All parking officers are warranted under the Local Government Act 2002 and the Land Transport Act 1998, and therefore have general powers of entry and the ability to attach an infringement notice to a vehicle when there is a breach on QLDC land, including road reserve.

"For example, if a car is parked on a private driveway but part of the vehicle extends onto a footpath, that is road reserve, and/or is blocking or hindering access for others then we are permitted to issue a ticket.

"This could require a parking officer to walk briefly onto the driveway - private land - to fix a ticket to the front windscreen of a vehicle."

They say some private land - including supermarket carparks and fenced-off yards - remain no-go areas for officers.

Denser residential living coupled with built-car households appear to have exacerbated parking issues in Queenstown.

A number of residents have spoken with Crux about what they feel are inadequate parking provisions in neighbourhoods like Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country.

One says their street is full of consented driveways so short in length they barely fit a car, and roads so narrow it becomes dangerous for to park on both sides without obstructing traffic - pull over slightly onto the verge, and it is a ticketing offence.

Another says it is impossible for them to charge their electric vehicle overnight without parking it so it extends onto the footpath. 

The council spokesperson says parking fines will be waived when people are ticketed incorrectly, and this is considered on a case-by-case basis.

"We appreciate no one likes getting a parking ticket but restrictions around our district are there for very important reasons."

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