4 Sep 2015

AA clamps down on punitive practice

12:09 pm on 4 September 2015

The Automobile Association says a new wheel clamping code of conduct is a step in the right direction, but it would prefer the government to ban the practice outright.

Parking officer in Wellington.

Parking officer in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

An industry working group is developing a new voluntary code of conduct in which a parking fine would be issued in the first instance, with clamping or towing used only as a last resort.

Just five companies are currently signed up to a 2012 code of conduct, which means they agreed not to charge more than $200 to remove a clamp from a vehicle.

They are: Comprise Group, Egmont Security, Tournament Parking, Valley Parking and Wilson Parking.

The Automobile Association (AA) has called the current code toothless and said the code should be made mandatory. In 2013, AA also supported a Labour Party move to reduce the clamping fee to $50.

AA policy analyst Mark Stockdale, who is a member of the working group, said he believed more people would sign up to the new code, because it offered a chance for parking enforcers to improve their public image.

He said a simple fine would also reduce conflict between motorists and parking wardens.

"From the parking companies' point of view, this could cause less stress for their staff, fewer customer complaints, and could improve their reputation in the eyes of the public.

"And then, of course, from the motorist's point of view, the penalties are much lower."

Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith said the Government had no plans to ban wheel clamping through legislation.

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