$150 spot fine for window washers is a step closer

Publish Date
Friday, 4 August 2017, 11:19AM
Photo / NZ Herald

Photo / NZ Herald

Police are set to get the power to give windscreen washers at intersections a $150 spot fine.

National and Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross has put forward changes to a Land Transport Amendment Bill which he expects to pass into law before Parliament rises this month for the election campaign.

The Whangarei District Council made a submission supporting the Land Transport Vehicle User Safety Amendment Bill, which will establish a national enforcement regime against window washing.

The proposed new rule states a road user must not use a road to wash or offer to wash a vehicle, or any part, in a manner that may be unsafe, may intimidate or cause a nuisance to any person, or may cause an obstruction to vehicles.

The rule change would allow police to issue instant $150 fines for window washing activities.

WDC staff considered a New Zealand-wide approach was appropriate and the power to issue fines would provide a much-needed simple and low-cost tool.

At present the four major intersections frequented by the window washers around Whangarei are under the control of the New Zealand Transport Agency and outside the jurisdiction of the council bylaws.

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai welcomed news that the move to allow police to dish out $150 spot fines was getting closer.

"Assuming the bill is passed, it gives us a strong tool for police to use to reduce the practice of windscreen washing at intersections. I would hope that our community can come up with alternative employment options for those window washers who are showing their willingness to work," Ms Mai said.

And while the winter weather may have seen temperatures stop some, hardy window washers are still working major intersections around the city in the evening and weekends.

A private member's bill targeting windscreen washers passed its first reading in April.

However, with two more readings it was not due to progress for some time. Using a supplementary order paper to insert clauses into the Land Transport legislation will speed up the changes.

Some councils, including Whangarei District Council, have bylaws aimed at stopping windscreen washers on city intersections. However, Whangarei District Council has to prosecute to enforce its bylaw, a process that can cost up to $5000 for the sake of a $200 fine.

A police spokesman said they did not comment on legislation that was still before Parliament.

The supplementary order paper put forward to insert new clauses into the Land Transport Amendment Bill (No 2) makes it illegal for a pedestrian to wash or offer to wash a vehicle, or part of a vehicle, on a road unless the vehicle is legally parked. Regulations will be amended to provide associated penalties.

The Automobile Association has previously expressed support for the change, and has urged drivers to not pay windscreen washers.

Source: Northern Advocate.