John Tamihere lashes out at Phil Goff, Auckland Transport over berm parking

Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere says a plan to enforce a ban parking on berms should never go ahead.

Auckland Council will ask Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) to support it in lobbying for a change to legislation about berm parking on Sunday.

Waitemata Local Board Chair Pippa Coom, who will represent the council at the LGNZ conference when asking for support, said parking can damage the berm and underground utilities.

An Auckland Transport (AT) bylaw currently prohibits parking on berms, but national laws mean this can't be enforced without signage letting motorists know their cars aren't allowed there ever 100 metres.

AT, an Auckland Council-controlled organisation, wants to change this and be able to hand out fines without the need to install more signage.

It's angered Tamihere, who has campaigned on his opposition to AT. Tamihere told The AM Show on Friday it's part of AT's efforts to force people out of cars and collect money through fines.

He's also annoyed his opponent, current Mayor Phil Goff, is in support of the change.

"I don't know why Goff would have signed off on this, I saw him on a video clip yesterday saying 'we're going ahead with this'.

"What it demonstrates is there's no control on the city"

Tamahere said he would allow the current rules on berm parking to stay, with only signposted areas enforced. He would also want to see berm parking banned on arterial roads.

"Some berms will require no parking, like on Lincoln Rd where they're just massive arterial routes.

"What you'll need though is that you'll always need a form of a berm because we've got to clear traffic accidents and breakdowns a lot quicker to stop the huge congestion."

A car on top of a heavily damaged muddy berm.
Cars parked on a berm. Photo credit: Twitter/Pippa Coom

Goff told NZME on Thursday berm parking has been creating a "real mess" in some areas and obstructing pedestrians. He'd like to see it stop, but not everywhere.

"There may be places where it is appropriate, but we need to have the power to say in the areas it's not appropriate that parking should not be permitted and you run the risk of being fined."

Auckland Transport told Newshub on Thursday installing signs is extremely expensive and they're often vandalised and damaged.

"On a [rainy] day like today a vehicle could easily wreck a berm," spokesperson Mark Hannan told Newshub. 

"Installing signage at all these sites is not only costly but also time-consuming. We don’t want to add to visual clutter and place signs every 100 metres down the road."

Central Government opposition


There may be some issues with changing the rules once it makes it to central Government with two MPs telling The AM Show on Friday they're not fond of the idea.

"It wouldn't work in my area because the council doesn't want people to wash their cars on the road anymore - they've asked to do it on grass, and sometimes the only grass is the berm. If they introduced that in Porirua City, they'd have a riot," Labour MP Kris Faafoi said.

National Party MP Judith Collins was stronger in her opposition and had some choice words for Auckland Transport.

"I'm getting sick and tired of Auckland Transport constantly telling people how to live their lives, and working on the bases that they make it so difficult for car owners. 

"People in Papakura for instance, where I represent, they need cars - they can bang on all they like about public transport, but unless you've got a train station right near to you, you're going to have to get to that train station... I'm so sick of them. They're so, so out of control."

Collins' electorate contains two train stations, but it would take a bit of driving to get to them. 

The Papakura train station is a 20-minute drive from the southwest boundary of her electorate, and the Takanini station is 13 minutes from the northeastern border.