Solve 'dysfunction' and window-washers will go - board chair

It's being claimed a new law giving police powers to fine intersection window-washers won't eradicate the scourge.

National MP Jami-Lee Ross' Land Transport (Vehicle User Safety) Amendment Bill will make it illegal to "use a road to wash or offer to wash a vehicle, or any part thereof, in a manner that may be unsafe, that may intimidate or cause a nuisance to any person, or may cause an obstruction to vehicles".

Police will be able to hand out spot fines of $150 and issue trespass notices against offenders.

The problem is particularly bad in south Auckland. Though she denies being a fan of "legislating away behaviour", Manurewa Local Board chair Angela Dalton tentatively backs the law change - because Auckland Council has been seemingly unable to police its own by-law against window-washing.

"In lieu of Auckland Council getting in there and policing their own by-law around it, they were looking to the police who have no powers - it's a public road, they couldn't trespass [them]."

The council was also loathe to prosecute, since the cost of doing so - up to $5000 - far outweighed the measly fines, which maxed-out at $400. So far only 76 people have been prosecuted.

Ms Dalton says a long-term fix would be to solve the underlying social and economic problems that lead to young people choosing to risk life and limb at busy intersections, rather than get a normal job.

"The question needs to be asked, what's the backstory of every window washer? What's the fundamental dysfunction?... Why aren't we addressing those issues?"

In April she told Newshub the local board was working on a sticker drivers can place on their windscreens telling washers to back off. That is still in the works, with police working on the design.

National, Labour, ACT and UnitedFuture supported the Bill at its first reading in April. It's currently before the transport and industrial relations committee, which isn't scheduled to report back until mid-October, but Mr Ross hopes to fast-track it through Parliament before the election.

"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 earlier this week.

The Greens, NZ First and the Māori Party opposed the Bill at its first reading.