9 Sep 2009

NZ owed millions in unpaid tourist fines

8:01 pm on 9 September 2009

Tourists are leaving New Zealand without paying millions of dollars in parking and infringement fines.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is one local authority owed millions and is pushing for changes to force rental car companies to collect parking fine money.

Regulatory manager Roger Taylor says the council has had to write off nearly $2.5 million worth of fines in the past three years, as tourists simply ignore payment demands once they have left the country.

Mr Taylor believes car rental companies should be chasing up the money.

Rental Vehicle Association chief executive Raewyn Bleakley says companies are not obliged to do this. There is a cost involved

She says there is a cost to recovering the money and rental companies should not be the collector.

Ms Bleakley says the current computer system that is supposed to inform rental companies of fines, in real time, is not working.

She says there needs to be more work done with the Government to put in place a new system that can catch tourists before they leave the country.