It’s the end of car-dumping season and Leigh Blackford, the private contractor who picks up Queenstown’s automotive cast-offs, has been busy.
Since January 1 this year, he’s found and notified registered owners of 444 cars around town – about 243 remain unclaimed.
That’s fewer than last year – when Blackford checked 566 vehicles and towed 293 – but he says people still dump cars “all over the place” to avoid the $292 charge for pickup and destruction.
Blackford, owner of Man & Van (Transport)Services, is contracted by Queenstown Lakes District Council to collect, process and recycle abandoned vehicles.
He says people generally get rid of their detritus twice a year: “There were a lot [dumped] in the snow season but it’s also the changing over of flats [in September/October].
“When the owners come to inspect their houses, the kids in flats have to get rid of [decrepit] cars. Nothing is sacred anymore.”
Blackford found these two graffitied vehicles pictured in November – a Hiace van at Arawata Terrace and a Ford Telstar on a Glenorchy Road layby. Three more vehicles were abandoned in the first week of December alone, he says.
If the most recent registered car owner doesn’t pay the disposal fee, ratepayers must stump up.
Blackford claims Kiwis and Brazilians are the worst for dumping cars without paying.