The age-old puzzle of how to beat a parking ticket might have been solved by a 69-year-old man and his cheap cellphone. Wellington’s Dave Finlay has won a battle over a parking ticket – using his wiles, persistence and cellphone photo gallery.

Finlay contacted Stuff after being ticketed for exceeding the time limit in the free 24-hour zone beside Wellington’s airport. He works in the area and often leaves his  car in the zone.

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When first speaking he said he had a method for ensuring his parking follows the rules: Every day, he checks the road is clear of potential parking poachers, then goes for an extremely short drive, through a nearby roundabout.

He photographs his car in the parking spot, then the empty parking spot, then his car back in the spot. Each photograph shows the time it was taken.  By leaving the zone – even momentarily – Finlay says he restarts the clock on his 24 hours. By taking the photos – with times – he says he proves he moved.

“I do this every day. Not many people will do this, and I’m fortunate enough to have the smarts to do it. I do it to protect myself.” The council should accept it, and “walk away”, he said.

“I move my car within that 24-hour period – there’s nothing there that states how far you have to move.”

A picture paints a thousand words, or in Dave Finlay’s case, saves $42 in a parking ticket. Photo / Stuff

Wellington City Council initially appeared to disagree and was willing to go to court to protect a $42 fine they slapped on Finlay. He got the ticket for parking up to 30 hours in the zone on October 4. According to his photos he was technically there for about 20 minutes, after driving around the nearby roundabout and returning to the spot.

The 24-hour zone around the airport was established because of local residents’ concerns that air travellers were dumping their cars for weeks at a time, to avoid airport parking fees. He initially paid the $42 to avoid hurting his credit record, but was prepared to go to court to get the ticket overturned.

Dave Finlay drives past the sign, then round a roundabout, and back again. Pghoto

Finlay said when he initially tried to send the photos he couldn’t figure out how to include the time stamps. “I’m not hi-tech.” But he had made a second appeal against the ticket after that. In a written response, council parking services manager Kevin Black said if a vehicle left the area then returned the 24-hour time period did indeed start again.

“Following further investigation the council has taken action to waive this particular infringement and is actioning a refund of the $42 infringement fee and Dave will be contacted directly about this.”

Black said the initial photographs did not have time stamps so were not considered sufficient evidence the car had moved. “In this case the review of the second appeal should have accepted the time/date stamped evidence provided and waived the infringement.”

Hearing news of the waiver, Finlay said he was glad the council had changed its mind. You’ll be alright, he said, “if you’re persistent and you know what you’re doing”.



Source: Stuff

Featured image: Dave Finlay won a battle over a parking ticket using his smarts and a smartphone. Photo / Stuff

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