Illegal roadside car sales concerning for councils –

Cars for sale on Salisbury Road, Richmond.

Cars for sale on Salisbury Road, Richmond.

It’s not uncommon to see a parked car with a “for sale” sign in its window but an apparent increase in the practice has sparked concern.

Nelson City councillor Paul Matheson has noticed roadside car sales spreading from “three or four up Waimea Road” to Nayland Rd, State Highway 6 Tahunanui Drive and into Richmond.

“It is pretty benign, but on the other hand it’s a distraction,” he said.

“If you see a sign that says 500 bucks, people slow down to have a look at the car and become oblivious [to traffic].”

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Selling a car roadside is illegal under a 2011 Nelson City Council bylaw which allows driving a car with a “for sale” sign but prohibits parking on council land “for the principal purpose of selling that vehicle”.

Tasman District Council communications adviser Chris Choat said the issue would be addressed in a review of council’s traffic bylaw in June.

Parking around Waimea College and Salisbury School was ”quite hampered at the moment” by cars for sale, he said.

“We’re looking at two options. One is time restrictions – whether that’s for a couple of hours or sites around [school] drop offs – or zone restrictions.”

Motor Trade Association dealer sector specialist Tony Everett said councils needed to take care that sellers were “genuine private owners” and not illegal traders seeking to shirk their legal obligations to ensure vehicle safety.

About 39 of 78 city, regional and district councils around New Zealand have bylaws which ban or limit parking on public land for the purpose of making a sale.

Matheson raised the issue of compliance at a Nelson City Council planning and regulatory committee meeting on Thursday.

Consents and compliance manager Mandy Bishop said if parking officers found any breach on their regular patrols they would “follow that through”, firstly by trying to inform the owner that they were breaching the law, “and then a follow-up to see that they’ve removed the vehicle”.

For those who refused to comply, a $40 fine could be issued.

Outside of council, Bishop said car sales were an “ongoing issue” on busier roads such as Nayland and Waimea Rds and Main Rd Stoke but could not say whether there had been an increase in the practice.

Nelson City Council had received only two complaints in as many months, she said.

“It often starts with one car then others follow suit.

“The potential danger is when drivers become distracted by these vehicles or slow down to look. Vehicles for sale on the side of the road can also reduce parks for other people and negatively impact on the look of a neighbourhood.

“If they start to accumulate in specific areas, the street can start to look like a car yard.”

New Zealand Transport Agency regional performance manager Mark Owen added that those stopping to inspect vehicles parked on busy roads were in danger of being hit by traffic.

“Another problem is that [parked cars] can block visibility from entranceways and intersections, as well as reducing the amount of roadway for cyclists.”


- Your vehicle’s warrant of fitness must be no more than a month old. A buyer can insist upon this.

- Vehicles without a current WoF must be advertised for sale ‘as is, where is’.

- All outstanding licence fees must be paid and road user charges up to date.

- Notify the NZTA of the sale. If you don’t, you can be fined up to $1000 and be held liable for fines and tickets accrued by the new owner.

 - Stuff


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