Parking warden flying solo in Hastings after four quit

Parking warden flying solo in Hastings after four quit - NZ Herald

For a month just one parking warden has been patrolling Hastings CBD due to a nationwide worker shortage.

Hastings District Council usually has a team of five wardens, but has filled only the one position.

John O'Shaughnessy, group manager planning and regulatory services, said they have been conducting interviews for the four vacancies last week and this week.

He claimed the situation is not unique to Hastings and there are parking warden vacancies across the entire country at the moment.

"Part of the challenge is that we have low unemployment nationwide and people have a lot of options when they are looking for jobs and considering pay rates."

John Payne, regulatory solutions manager, said this had been the situation in Hastings for about a month.

The four people previously in the vacant roles had left within two months of one another.

"The reasons for leaving were varied – one left due to medical reasons, one left the country and two went to other jobs," Payne said.

"We have this week shortlisted two new potential contenders for the roles."

Speaking on behalf of the remaining parking enforcement officer, Payne said their primary role covers all parking responsibilities including complaints and abandoned vehicles, but the person is also carrying out enforcement.

He said doing the job solo was not too much different than usual, but it was nice to have teammates, who know what the job is like, to debrief with when things got challenging.

"There are no real issues – people are generally polite but like with any customer facing role you sometimes have to deal with upset people," Payne said.

O'Shaughnessy said they did not believe pay was a primary driver for people leaving the role as HDC had comparable pay rates to the rest of the country.

He said they also did their best to mitigate occasionally difficult conditions on the job, such as unhappy members of the public.

"In terms of conditions, safety is paramount for our parking staff, and they are not expected to stay in an area if there is conflict. Our City Assist and police can also provide support if needed," O'Shaughnessy said.

"It is a challenging job dealing with the public, but as a general rule the community is supportive and appreciate that parking enforcement is about traffic turnover and making parking fair for everyone."

A Napier City Council spokesperson said they currently employ four parking officers and one senior parking officer, and have one vacancy.

Wairoa District Council do not employ any parking wardens.