‘Draconian’ surveillance plans

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The Wanaka Community Board chairman is turning up the heat over ‘‘draconian’’ surveillance plans in the resort.

Barry Bruce said Queenstown Lakes District Council had not provided the board with any information about plans to use CCTV for parking fines.
‘‘No background detail, no information, no rationale justifying it,’’ Mr Bruce said.
‘‘I’m talking personally here as an elected member, not on behalf of the board, but my personal view is that surveillance cameras in Wanaka are a pretty blunt instrument for ensuring parking compliance.’’

Mr Bruce first raised concerns about the CCTV parking plans in The News in January.
In his view, security cameras played a role in helping police view an incident and get further information, but using CCTV for parking fines was ‘‘surveillance’’.
‘‘There is abig difference between security cameras and surveillance cameras.’’
It was ‘‘quite invasive’’ and there were privacy issues associated with using CCTV in this way.

CCTV was ‘‘an easy way to ping people with parking tickets’’ but didn’t have the flexibility of parking wardens, who were able to foster ‘‘a bit of goodwill’’ by seeing the context of parking infringements.

Someone sitting in front of a screen would observe someone parking on a bus stop or over­parking ‘‘for possibly a few seconds’’ and issue a ticket.
His experience as the owner of a rental car business showed this was happening in other towns ‘‘because we get the tickets’’.

He said people had told him there were times when people simply wanted to drop a passenger off, couldn’t find a park in Queenstown so parked on a bus or taxi stop ‘‘for seconds, enough time to stop the vehicle, open the door and get out, and suddenly they get a parking ticket’’.
‘‘To them that seems quite draconian.’’

Mr Bruce said he was aware there were parking issues in Wanaka and work was taking place on a parking strategy that would be able to provide better options for workers to park all day. ‘‘We’ve got to provide some long-term car parking for those people.’’
Another issue to address was providing parking for large camper vans, to reduce the numbers parking in the central business district, Mr Bruce said.

Council media and channels adviser Jack Barlow said changes involving CCTV would be presented to the Wanaka Community Board.
CCTV in a parking context aimed to provide a fair parking service to the community and users of town centres.

This included monitoring bus stops, loading zones and short duration parks.
‘‘It is especially effective in ensuring much-needed mobility spaces remain clear.
‘‘It has proved to be an effective and fair system of parking management in the region, as can be seen by the positive effect it has had in Arrowtown and Queenstown,’’ he said.
“It is not anticipated to reduce the parking officer presence in our district.’’