Auckland Council wants more power to ban and penalise
windscreen washers at intersections.
The washers are already banned under a bylaw, and offenders
can be fined up to $20,000.
But the council says the sanctions are costly, complex and
ineffective, and it wants the Government to change the law so
it can issue infringement notices - possibly in the form of
Under the present law, it must get police to confiscate
washers' equipment or prosecute them.
Councillors yesterday unanimously backed a proposed law
amendment that would allow the council to specify bylaw
breaches that would result in an infringement notice.
It can already issue some penalties, such as parking fines.
But the proposal, part of a draft submission on the Local
Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 3), would extend
council's powers to issue the infringement notices for
illegal car window washing at intersections as well as other
problems it considers a public nuisance, such as graffiti and
illegal street trading.
The acting chairman of the council's strategy and policy
committee, Arthur Anae, said: "The council has been against
window washing for some time but has no power to do anything.
We have to get police to take their buckets ... and they just
move a block down the road and start again."
The finer details of the infringement notices would depend on
the proposal being adopted by a Parliamentary select
Council chief planning officer Roger Blakeley said officials
wanted an immediate, cost-effective sanction - possibly a
The size of the fine would depend on the gravity of the
offence. Mr Anae, a Manukau councillor, hoped any fine would
be less than $100 so it was not too harsh for people who were
likely to have small incomes.
While he backed the council's draft submission, he also
praised the "entrepreneurial spirit"of the window washers,
and wanted a resolution which worked for all parties.
"If I was a teenager, I would probably be doing the same
thing to make a buck."
He suggested the washing could be regulated. Washers could
get licences to work at specified intersections, and could
wear a uniform and follow a code of conduct.
The problem was believed to be worst in Counties Manukau,
where police received between 20 and 35 complaints a month.
Late last year, police prevention manager Richard Middleton
asked people not to give money to window washers at South
"The window washers are a hazard ... and the activity should
not be encouraged with payment."
Councils can now issue infringement notices under the
Resource Management Act, the Building Act and the Land
But most bylaws cannot be enforced with infringement notices
without the Local Government Minister's approval.
The draft submission said local government had long been
seeking greater powers and it was disappointing that proposed
reforms did not address the issue.
The AA's general manager of motoring affairs, Mike Noon, said
some motorists tolerated the window washers, but it often
depended on the approach of a particular washer.
"In some places it will be gratefully received with a smile
and a wave. But if they're impeding the traffic it's a safety
risk, and if the people delivering the service are being
intimidatory, that's not welcome."
The proposal is the latest action against people deemed to be
a public nuisance.
In May a new Auckland Council bylaw comes into effect, giving
council officers the power to ban street beggars who