Local technology service provider Geeks on Wheels has been awarded $5000 in a landmark parking victory against the Tauranga City Council.
After receiving nine parking infridgment notices in succession in early 2016, Geeks on Wheels decided to fight back.
According to them, the tickets were issued in the Tauranga suburbs for the sole reason of parking vehicles displaying sign-writing. Tauranga City Council had attempted to outlaw this through its bylaw that prohibited parking for the purpose of advertising.
The parking bylaw (s.12.4) prohibited local businesses from parking sign-written vehicles. We thought this was silly as it served no useful purpose,” says Matthew Carr-Gomm, Geeks on Wheels CEO.
“What exactly were we meant to do when our vehicles were attending a job, or weren’t currently required? The Council themselves were in breach of their own ridiculous rules by signwriting their own fleet of 93 vehicles,” he explains.
As such, common sense came out the winner on the day, and the Tauranga District Court has now ruled that Tauranga City Council’s Traffic & Parking Bylaw is illegal.
His Hon. Judge Mabey QC agreed in his judgement that the purpose of the bylaw was not that which Parliament had authorised. He concluded that, by law, it was unreasonable because it was too broad and pursued an improper and unauthorised purpose.
Mabey QC awarded Geeks on Wheels $5000 in costs.
According to Carr-Gomm, since the Traffic & Parking Bylaw was introduced in 2012, at least 348 parking tickets have been falsely issued. Tauranga City Council have spent $24,931 of ratepayer’s money on legal fees to pursue just $360 of parking fines.
“Despite trying to appeal directly to the Mayor for common sense, the Council remained intransigent, and wasted a huge amount of time and money chasing these fines,” he says.
“Surely there are more pressing issues the Council should be directing their resources to.
“We believe the Council should be doing what they can to support local businesses and not making things more difficult. Businesses like ours provide many benefits to the Tauranga region, including providing jobs for young people,” CarrGomm says.