Fair Go’s camera exposes repeated misuse of mobility car parks

Kaitlin Ruddock
Source: Fair Go

Naming and shaming isn’t enough to stop people from illegally parking in mobility spaces.

That’s the cry from many who hold mobility parking permits, hoping a new Minister and Ministry of Disabled People will take the matter more seriously.

Fair Go’s hidden cameras caught repeated abuse taking place on a main street in Auckland.

Mobility advocate Lee Warn says that behaviour disrupts the lives of those who have the right to be there.

“I know a girl who, if she can't park where she needs to park, she can't actually… problem solve that," he said.

"So she just drives home and cries and then doesn't do whatever it is, whether that be swimming, shopping, visiting somebody."

More than 150,000 Kiwis hold a mobility parking permit and that number is expected to rise over the next decade. But enforcement can be hit and miss.

In public spaces, it's up to councils to ticket illegal parking. But owners of private land, like malls and supermarkets, don't have to take any action.

Lee wants to see parking wardens given the ability to go onto private carparks.

"It'd be wonderful if property owners said 'enough's enough and we're gonna fine them $500', because we can fine them whatever we want."

A petition presented to Parliament earlier this year calls for a law change that would increase fines and ensure the same level of enforcement for both public and private parks used publicly.

And this month, Whaikaha, the new Ministry of Disabled People, was established.

Former Police Minister Poto Williams is now the Minister for Disability Issues.

She told Fair Go she’s already taken steps in her new role, including writing to Government agencies "setting out my expectations that the way they work, their policies and procedures are actually informed to support disabled people to do what they need to do with their daily life".

That challenge could extend to private landowners too.

“Whaikaha, the Ministry for Disabled People has an expectation that you will do the right thing by disabled communities”.