22 Jan 2024

Ex-Aucklander finally pays off $17,000 worth of parking fines

From Checkpoint, 6:55 pm on 22 January 2024

A man who racked up $17,000 in parking tickets and other vehicle-related infringements has finally paid it off after eight years.

Todd Fisher, formerly of the inner-city Auckland suburb Parnell, would drive to work in Ponsonby every day and park in a 90-minute spot - then forget to move his car.

He said he was playing "carpark roulette" and losing.

"Basically I was parking in Ponsonby, just off St Mary's Bay Road, and there was a carpark there that was a 90-minute limit, and if you went over that you got a $65 ticket," he told Checkpoint on Monday.

"And if you didn't pay that within five days, it became $85 and I was stuck in meetings and I was just a bit busy and, and I kind of got a ticket every day and then it just escalated from there… It was, I thought, a future Todd problem actually."

Past Todd also did not have a warrant of fitness or registration, so would also frequently get $400 tickets for that.

"It was not good."

Once the footwell of his backseat began to overflow with tickets, Fisher decided to find out what kind of pickle he was in.

"I called up expecting to have just under $5000 worth of fines, and even then I wasn't proud, wasn't happy about it. But the lady on the other end of the phone said to me, look, it's 15,000 and counting. They're coming in every single day.

"I pretty much said, 'Cool, I'll call you back when I know how to deal with this,' hung up and just burst into tears because I was on a low wage, didn't know what I was doing with my money and that really threw me off.

"But then we got to the final ticket coming through and it was around $17,000 and then I set up a payment plan and we went from there."

His mother confiscated his car for a month, forcing him to use the bus or Uber.

"That wasn't a fun time, but I guess it stopped me getting into more trouble." 

Eight years later, he has just paid off the debt. 

"It's been a glorious week… it's amazing to get that extra bit of cash back in my paycheck. I got to the point where I was paying about 100 bucks back a fortnight, so really good to just get that little extra back, you know?"

He now lives in Christchurch, where parking is "way cheaper", and any fines he does get are paid straight away.

"There's always a silver lining and I've learned something. 'Eat the frog' is what I live by. If something is causing you an issue, deal with it as soon as it arises then it doesn't and become a bigger issue - deal with it as it's happening."