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July 15, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Just the Ticket

The Hutt City Council issued thousands of parking tickets unlawfully, a Victoria University Master’s student has discovered.

Al O’Connor, a legal researcher and Master’s student, came across the issue after he was issued a parking ticket for a time-restricted zone and did some research of his own.

Land Transport regulations state that a bylaw must be passed in order to bring into effect time-restricted penalties for parking tickets. O’Connor said that coupon parking, resident parking, no-stopping areas and parking meters were covered by the existing bylaws, but not time-restricted areas.

“What it means is that none of the signs and none of the tickets are lawful, and they’ll have to refund the tickets,” he said.

Hutt City Council Chief Executive Tony Stallinger said he was worried about the “administrative nightmare” that had been uncovered.

“It’s going to be a major inconvenience,” he said.

The problem is believed to be backdated to at least 2007, and O’Connor is urging people to come forward to receive a refund on fines they had already paid. Hutt City Councillor Margaret Cousins sent a note saying that O’Connor was correct and that the Council had had similar issues in the past.

“It looks like he’s right, and we may have a problem,” said Cousins.

Student Steff Dewhurst is one beneficiary who will be arguing a ticket she was issued last month during the major storms. Council parking manager Barry Rippon refused her request to have the ticket cancelled, and Miss Dewhurst was surprised when she was informed that the issuing was unlawful.

The Hutt City Council is the the only council in the greater Wellington area to have insufficient bylaws regarding time-restricted parking areas; other councils’ bylaws cover the issuing of all tickets.

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