Thursday, April 25, 2024

Window washing could be banned in coming days: Ross

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Window washers on Ti Rakau Drive. Times photo Wayne Martin

Window washing at intersections will be banned within weeks, if not days according to Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross.

Ross in September last year drafted a Bill to stop window washing and give police the power to fine them.

He has also launched a petition asking for public support for the law change.

The National Party senior whip told the Times he has managed to negotiate and get through the Parliament this week an amendment to fast track the ban on window washers.

“It still has one more step to go through in the next few days, but the short story is that window washing at intersections will be banned within weeks, if not days,” he said.

It is a rare move for Parliament to agree to an amendment from an MP that is not a Minister, however Ross said this situation reflects the need to give police power to tackle the window washer problem.

“In the end, the change was made unanimously and will clear make it unlawful for a pedestrian from washing or offering to wash a vehicle unless it is legally parked.

“I am pleased the public with soon have relief from the practice, and public safety will take priority.”

Ross said in September: “We need the Minister of Transport to agree to fast track this amendment to the Land Transport Act (the same law used for other offences involving roads or vehicles), otherwise it could take months or years for it to be randomly selected for debate in Parliament.

“Window washers at intersections are a common sight in Auckland — but they can be both dangerous and intimidating.

“I regularly get complaints that we need to do something about the problem. The council and police have also been calling for Parliament to help them out with a better law needing to be put in place.”

Mr Ross said that with the problem of window washers growing and even reports of attacks on school children in Auckland, he decided to launch a petition calling on the Minister of Transport to fast track a law change he has drafted.

“Not every window washer is dangerous or intimidating. Some are hard on their luck and doing what they can,” he said.

“But police and the council have countless reports of window washers obstructing traffic, forcing their services on people who do not want them, or even attacking members of the public.

“I was particularly alarmed to hear of children being attacked while walking to school a few months ago.”

Auckland Council has a bylaw that makes window washing illegal, but the bylaw can only be enforced by the council taking a prosecution.

“This is costly for ratepayers, ties up court time, and takes several months to process,” Mr Ross said.

“A better solution is for the law to be changed to support the work police and council have been doing by allowing instant fines of $150 to be issued.

“We need to give police and the community more support. Changing the law to give police greater powers in this area will help them keep the public, particularly women and children, safer at problem intersections.”

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