Councillor off to Ombudsman after copping $60 parking fine based on passerby's photo

A New Plymouth District councillor who got a parking ticket based on a passerby's photo of his ute parked on yellow lines says he's going to the Ombudsman for clarification of the rules.

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It happened to New Plymouth councillor Murray Chong who thinks it’s a dangerous precedent. Source: Seven Sharp

Councillor Murray Chong told Seven Sharp it's not about the $60 fine he had to pay but about setting clear standards for the community, because at the moment there's a double standard.

When he dobbed people in they didn't get tickets, but when someone dobbed him in, he did.

Mr Chong said he gathered evidence for the council of people doing the same thing. He said the council kept on saying they couldn't act on it but had to have their enforcement officers go out and look before they would issue tickets.

"What I did, I just tested the waters, and I took some examples to just see what they would do with it, because if they make a rule and they set the precedent then that needs to be followed through. And my assumptions of them not really wanting to do anything about those was proven right," he said.

"I'll be going to the Ombudsman and just getting clarity on this issue, because we need to know if people can dob people in like this. I don't think they can."

Mr Chong said he's not OK with people dobbing each other in for parking infringements.

"I actually think that's going to open a huge can of worms."

New Plymouth District Council told Seven Sharp it stands by its decision and it's disappointing the council has had to spend a significant amount of staff time and ratepayer money dealing with the $60 parking ticket.   

The council said it can issue parking tickets based on photographic evidence from others if the picture meets certain criteria, including having a date on it. The photo also must be accompanied by a written statement from a witness who's prepared to give that statement in court.

Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch cities don't ticket on the basis of photos from members of the public.