How to contest a parking ticket in New Zealand

How to contest a parking ticket in New Zealand?

Getting slapped with a parking ticket can be a major headache, especially if you believe you were wrongly accused. 

But the good news is that if you’re in New Zealand, you have the right to contest that ticket and have your case heard by an independent adjudicator. 

That means you don’t have to just sit back and accept it – you can fight it! In fact, here’s a guide on how to do just that.

How to contest a parking ticket in New Zealand?

How to contest a parking ticket in New Zealand
DifficultyModerately Difficult ●●●○○
Number of steps6
Time to performSeveral hours to a few days
Things you need• The issued parking ticket
• Evidence to support the appeal
• Personal identification
• Contact details
• Payment for any fees or fines associated with the appeal
• Any relevant documentation, such as photos or witness statements.

To contest a parking ticket in New Zealand, you’ll need to request a review of your case from the issuing authority and provide evidence to support your claim. 

And even if you’re not satisfied with the outcome of the review after that, you can escalate your case to the Traffic Enforcement Section of the District Court. Basically, you have more avenues for recourse than you might realize.

We’ll take you through the steps below so you know how to go about this. Just remember that for your appeal to be considered, you must submit it on or before the payment due date on your ticket.

STEP 1. Gather evidence that supports your case.

Gather evidence that supports your case

The first step towards building a strong case is to gather all the evidence you can get your hands on. This may include taking photos of the parking sign or location to show that the signage was unclear or confusing.

If you paid for parking, keep the receipt as evidence that you were a paying customer. If you had to leave your vehicle for an emergency or to attend an appointment, gather any relevant documentation to prove it.

Another way to strengthen your case is to find witnesses who can support your story. These witnesses could be fellow motorists who were parked nearby, shopkeepers, or employees of nearby businesses who saw what happened.

The key here is to gather as much evidence as possible. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be when you contest the ticket. 

STEP 2: Write a letter of appeal.

Write a letter of appeal

In your letter, explain why you believe the ticket was issued unfairly and include any evidence that supports your case. Be sure to stay polite and respectful in your tone, as the adjudicator is more likely to be sympathetic if you are.

You have two options: appealing online or by post. The only big difference between the two is that you fill out a form online and write everything in a printed document by post.

In both cases, you need to provide these:

  • Your ticket number
  • License plate number
  • Personal information
  • A clear explanation of the circumstances and supporting evidence, e.g. photos or documents

If you’re not sure how to write a letter of appeal, don’t worry! We’ve sourced a few helpful templates from Moneyhub that you can use as a guide to get started. 

Just remember to customize these to suit your situation!

Template 1. You can use this template if you parked your vehicle in a free parking area, such as a shopping mall or supermarket.
Template Parked Vehicle in free parking area
Template 2. Use this template if you received a parking ticket for parking in a privately operated, paid parking spot.
Template for parking ticket in privately operated, paid parking slot
Template 3. If your appeals have all been rejected, you may consider taking your case to the Disputes Tribunal. Use this template if you’re not getting the results you want from appealing directly to the parking authority.
Template for not getting the result from parking authorities

STEP 3. Submit your appeal.

Submit your appeal

After writing your letter of appeal, it’s time to submit it to the relevant authority. This could be the local council or a private parking company, depending on who issued the ticket.

You can find the website and address of the parking authority in your parking ticket. Make sure to take note of it so you can send the appeal to the right party.

Before you submit your appeal, it’s important to check the deadline for submission, as there is often a time limit. In New Zealand, the timeframe for submitting a parking ticket appeal varies depending on the issuing authority.

For example, if the ticket was issued by a council, you usually have 28 days from the date of the ticket to submit your appeal. Private parking companies may have different deadlines, so be sure to check their website or contact them directly for more information.

It’s also worth noting that some authorities may offer the option of an informal hearing or mediation session to try to resolve the dispute. This can be a useful way to present your case in person and potentially reach a mutually agreeable outcome.

STEP 4. Wait for a response.

Wait for a response

Now that you’ve submitted your appeal, the ball is in the adjudicator’s court. In New Zealand, the response time can vary depending on the parking authority, but it typically takes several weeks. 

While waiting for a response, try not to park in the same location again to avoid any further tickets.

In the meantime, it’s a good idea to prepare for both outcomes: a successful appeal or an unsuccessful one. 

STEP 5. Present your case in person at the hearing.

Present your case in person at the hearing

If your appeal is accepted, congratulations! You’ve made it to the next stage of the process –  the hearing. This is where you’ll have the opportunity to present your case in person and explain why you believe the ticket should be overturned.

The hearing will be conducted by an adjudicator, who will ask you questions about your case and listen to your arguments. Make sure to dress appropriately and be prepared to make your case. 

Remember, confidence is key, so be sure to practice your arguments beforehand and go in feeling confident and prepared.

STEP 6. Stand your ground or pay up.

Stand your ground or pay up

Once the adjudicator has made their decision, it’s up to you to decide whether to accept it or take further action. 

If they rule in your favor, that’s totally great news! You can save your money for something more fun than parking fines.

If the adjudicator rules against you, you’ll need to decide whether to accept their decision or take the matter further by appealing to a higher authority. 

If you choose to appeal the decision further, you may need to take legal action in the District Court. This can be a lengthy and expensive process, so make sure to weigh up the costs and benefits before proceeding. 

However, if you strongly believe that you have a valid case, then it may be worth pursuing further. Just keep in mind that there are no guarantees of success, and it’s important to weigh the potential costs and benefits before making a decision.

Why should I contest a parking ticket in New Zealand?

Why should I contest a parking ticket in New Zealand

You might be wondering why it’s worth the effort.

Contesting a parking ticket in New Zealand can be a smart move if you believe you were wrongly accused. By contesting the ticket, you have the opportunity to have an independent adjudicator review your case and potentially have the ticket overturned. 

Plus, if you’re successful in your objection, you won’t have to pay the fine, and the ticket won’t go on your driving record. 

What are the common reasons for contesting a parking ticket?

common reasons for contesting a parking ticket

In general, some of the common reasons for contesting a parking ticket include errors on the ticket, unclear signage, extenuating circumstances, and disputes over parking fees.

Here are other reasons you may want to contest your ticket

  1. Faulty signage or unclear instructions: For example, if a sign indicating a no-parking zone was covered by a tree branch or graffiti, it could be hard for you to know that you were parking illegally.
  1. Incorrect or missing details on the ticket: If you notice incorrect details like the wrong car registration number or the wrong date and time, you can use these errors as a reason to contest the ticket.
  1. Medical or emergency reasons: In some cases, parking illegally may be necessary due to a medical emergency or a need to help someone in distress. Just be sure to gather any necessary documentation, such as a doctor’s note or witness statements.
  1. Equipment failure: If you received a ticket due to a broken parking meter or other faulty equipment, take pictures of the malfunctioning equipment and note any error messages or signs of damage.

What are common mistakes people make when contesting a parking ticket in New Zealand?

Common mistakes people make when contesting a parking ticket in New Zealand

Common mistakes people make when contesting a parking ticket in New Zealand include not gathering enough evidence, not following the correct appeal procedures, underestimating potential consequences, and not presenting their case effectively at a hearing.

Here’s a rundown of some common blunders (and how to dodge them) when fighting a parking ticket in New Zealand:

  • Insufficient evidence – Make sure you gather all the evidence you need to support your claim. Take photos, record witness statements, and document everything that can help your case.
  • Incomplete information – Double-check your appeal before submitting it. Make sure you’ve included all the necessary information, like the parking ticket number and license plate number. 
  • Missing the deadline – Make sure you submit your appeal before the deadline. Mark the deadline on your calendar and set reminders to avoid any last-minute rush.
  • Incorrect appeal procedure – Make sure you use the correct form and provide all the required information when submitting your appeal. 
  • Underestimating the time and effort – Plan your case, practice your arguments, and anticipate any questions the adjudicator might ask.
  • Ignoring the potential consequences – Think ahead! Don’t contest a ticket without weighing the risks and benefits. Consider the possible outcomes, such as higher fines or legal fees, and decide if it’s worth the effort.