Fines for window washers?
Window washers could be stung with $150 spot fines under a new bill which passed its first reading in Parliament last week.
The bill, submitted by National MP Jami-Lee Ross, has support from National and Labour.
Ross wants windscreen washing at intersections to be made illegal, giving police the power to issue washers with $150 instant fines.
Rules around window washers fall under council bylaws. If washers repeatedly breach the bylaw they can be fined up to $20,000 by the courts.
Last year ACT Party leader David Seymour organised a community meeting addressing the problems around Auckland’s Greenlane interchange window washing gangs.
In July windscreen washers were accused of attacking schoolchildren - including four girls who were robbed while walking home from school.
Seymour said not having window washing illegal made it hard for police.
‘‘There has been serious crime related to the window washing.’’
The bill needs 61 votes to move to select committee where the public will be asked to make submissions.
It passed its first of three readings by 93 votes to 28.
Epsom community constable Chris Gwilliam said windscreen washing was still an issue at the Greenlane intersection and areas such as Great South Road in Counties Manukau.
‘‘Obviously it’s very seasonal and there will be a decrease as the weather gets worse but even if it’s still raining there will be some out there.’’
Gwilliam said police conducted daily patrols in the problem areas but it was hard as they had no power. He would welcome the power to impose a $150 spot fine.
Seymour and Gwilliam both raised the prospect of issuing fines to people who pay window washers.
‘‘They are feeding the problem and the law would give people an excuse to say no,’’ Seymour said.
Labour’s police spokesman Stuart Nash said making windscreen washers illegal was a pragmatic solution. The Green Party opposed the bill and MP Jan Logie said it risked being an ‘‘attack on the poor’’.
The bill was supported by National, Labour, Act and United Future but opposed by the Green Party, Maori Party and NZ First.
A bill before Parliament proposes to clean the streets of windscreen washers by making it illegal, giving police the power to issue $150 spot fines.