NZ Woman's Weekly

Consumer: Driving disputes

What people do on private property is their own business, but what if it affects you? Blocking your views with a large truck can be a nuisance, so enlist the council to put an end to it.

My neighbour, who rents the property next door, is a lorry driver. Every night and all weekend, he parks his huge refrigerated lorry on the curb outside his house. This has really lowered the tone of the neighbourhood. I have asked him if he could park it elsewhere, but his response was, “Where else can I park it?” Are there any rules about the size of the vehicle you can park in an urban street?

Local authorities have the power to enact bylaws limiting where heavy motor vehicles park. They can prohibit or restrict the parking of heavy motor vehicles of a specified class on a road during any particular hours or specified period.

I expect many local authorities in New Zealand have already created such bylaws, so if you can’t convince your neighbour to leave his lorry in an industrial area and commute to it by car, then check with your local council to find out what your bylaws say about it. You may find he’s breaking a local bylaw anyway. If there are none, council may well be able to offer a solution to your dispute.

I would approach this as a residents group rather than just you as an individual. Take a walk around the neighbourhood and assess their feelings about the lorry. Surely you’re not the only resident irritated by this. I would be.

Last week, my son got a $150 ticket for not having his car headlights on at night. He had just exited a McDonald’s drive-thru and had inadvertently forgotten to flick his lights back on. A traffic cop picked him up just 200m down the road and issued him with the infringement. This is an enormous amount of money for someone who’s just doing his trade certificate. Surely this was just an oversight – it is not like he was speeding or driving dangerously.

Usually people are pretty unsympathetic about this sort of thing – until it happens to them – but I agree with you. Yes, forgetting to turn on your lights is potentially dangerous, but whoever drives with their lights off intentionally? This seems to me a case where the cop should quickly alert the driver that they’ve forgotten to turn their lights on and leave it at that. Maybe an official warning would also be appropriate, but to fine someone $150 when they’ve travelled just 200m without their lights on seems excessive.

I’m sure you realise that all fines can be challenged by writing a letter to the issuing authority. The address will be on the official notice when it arrives in the mail. I’ve successfully pleaded my innocence in the past and had the fine dropped. I recommend you try. As for your son not earning much, I don’t think that will alter things greatly. The issue of fining people according to their income is a whole different issue – and, in my view, a very interesting one.

Do you have  a question for  Kevin? Email (Subject line: Consumer) or post to: NZWW, Bauer Media, Private Bag 92512, Auckland 1036.

Take a look at Consumer: Unclaimed money here.

Image: Phillip Castleton/

Issue 1541

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