OPINION: Time to deal with window washers

MP Jami-Lee Ross wants to ban window washers. Times photo Wayne Martin.

We are in the midst of the voting period for local government elections. The people we choose to serve as our Mayor, councillors and local board members have a big task ahead of them.

It’s also important that they are able to work well with community groups, business organisations and central government representatives. We are all in this together.

I’ve enjoyed the strong work ethic of the Vision & Voice-led Howick Local Board over the past three years and wish them well as they seek re-election.

An area that I’ve been working with local government and New Zealand Police on is the problem of window washers.

The number of window washers in Auckland has been increasing in recent years.

They are a regular sight at intersections across the city but they are not always welcome.

Often the window washers force their services upon people who do not want their services before extracting money out of motorists that are sitting at a red light.

NZ Police and Auckland Council tell me the number of people taking to the streets to do this work is increasing and becoming unsafe.

This is not only a health and safety concern but it also intimidating to those on the receiving end.

Unfortunately there has also been a recent spate of attacks on motorists and even children on their way to and from school.

At present, the council and police are unable to effectively tackle problematic window washers.

While there is a bylaw designed to stop window washers, ratepayers have to fund a long drawn out and costly prosecution through the courts for anything to be done.

I have proposed a better solution where the law would be changed to support the work police and council have been doing by allowing instant fines of $150 to be issued.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s an immediate option that Police should be given where they believe a problem exists. Right now, they don’t have that power.

We need the Minister of Transport to agree to help get this law change through the Parliament in a timely manner.

If you support giving the Police the legal means to tackle window washers, please join me by signing my petition to the Minister at www.StopWindowWashers.co.nz .

Jami-Lee Ross, MP for Botany