A New Plymouth woman was astonished to learn reversing into an angle carpark is illegal after she got a ticket.
Shortly after Christmas, Jean Richards parked between the lines in the New Plymouth District Council's Egmont St carpark around 12.30pm and later returned to find she had been issued a $40 ticket for "incorrect angle parking".
"I couldn't understand why I got it. I was parked straight and not over the line. I stood on the street and called over six people who all said I wasn't even on the line and I wasn't going crazy."
When she went in to the council to pay the mysterious ticket she discovered it was for parking backwards, against the direction of the arrows painted on the road in the carpark.
"I didn't know that. Who does? I talked to one of the parking wardens and he told me it was the law now and they would be giving people tickets for it."
NPDC acting regulatory manager Mary-Anne Priest said the council had given five motorists tickets for reverse-parking in angle parks in New Plymouth in the past year.
Richards said she reversed into the angle park to make it easier to leave and felt the rule was ridiculous and she was going to appeal to have the ticket waived.
"I'm hoping to get off it, and I just want other people to know they can get tickets for parking like that."
A council CCTV photo clearly shows Richards was parked within the white lines, but backwards, in the carpark.
"As far as I knew my car was parked right. If the rules changed they should tell everyone. No one checks the rules every day."
But the rules are not clear cut.
The Land Transport Road User Rule 2004 states: "If the road controlling authority has indicated that vehicles may be parked only at an angle to the direction of the roadway, a driver must not stand or park a vehicle (other than a cycle) otherwise than in accordance with the direction indicated."
Priest said the council's interpretation of the rule was that reverse-parking in an angle park is illegal, and the arrows indicating the direction of the one-way carpark also show which way cars should be parked.
The NZTA said it had recently been asked for clarification on a similar case in Wellington.
In most cases where the parking is at an angle other than 90 degrees to the kerb the direction of parking intended (forward in or reverse in) is fairly obvious and under normal circumstances would not have to be indicated by a sign.
If the spaces are marked at an angle of car park, which are less than 90 degrees, drivers should only enter forward.
"If that angle is greater than 90 degrees it would indicate that the road controlling authority intends for drivers to reverse in. Where the spaces are at right angles the intention is less clear and it is in these cases that the direction of parking is more likely to be defined through signage."