Clamping down on wheel clampers

By Te Ao - Māori News

Wheel clamping is a largely unregulated practice across Aotearoa and for the general public, the current law is unclear about how much operators can charge.

That's about to change following the first reading of the Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill last night in Parliament.

Ministers Phil Twyford and Kris Faafoi say that wheel clampers' "days are numbered".

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Faafoi says motorists shouldn't have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to remove wheel clamps.

"Many people have complained after having to pay large fees - and this can be in the region of $700 - on the spot to unclamp their vehicle. Not only are people being fleeced, there are confronting situations where members of the public feel vulnerable in dealing with aggressive wheel clampers," explains Minister Faafoi.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says, "There is a voluntary code intended to protect consumers and there are some operators who are operating appropriately. But we know too there are the cowboy clampers who use standover tactics and this has to stop."

A fee cap of $100 was set by Cabinet agreement because, as Minister Faafoi says, it provides enough of a deterrent to prevent people parking on private property without permission, while still being a reasonable amount to pay.

Minister Twyford says the new rules provide much greater clarity so that motorists will know their rights and can contest a fee when asked to pay more than $100.

The Bill is expected to pass by the end of the year.