Petition calls for crackdown on Auckland's window washers

Columns
Monday, July 11, 2016

Residents have launched a petition calling for a crack-down on window washers after a spate of attacks on schoolchildren.

The petition calls for the Government to change the law around windscreen washing and make it an offence punishable by an infringement notice.

ACT Leader David Seymour says he will present the petition on behalf of residents to Minister of Local Government Sam Lotu-Iiga.

It comes after 100 parents attended a community meeting last week to voice their concerns about a spate of violent incidents around a busy Greenlane intersection.

Police are still looking for a group of 10 young men after two students were attacked near Greenlane Train Station on June 15.

Days later, police arrested and charged three people, aged 13, 14, and 16, with aggravated robbery after they allegedly attacked a group of Remuera Intermediate students walking home from school.

Inspector Andy King says there is a group of youths travelling into Greenlane for the purpose of window washing and committing other offences in the area.

"Not only are they intimidating and annoying for motorists, they are causing havoc for innocent people on the way to and from their window washing," King says.

He says at least eight window washers have been trespassed from nearby Greenlane businesses.

But police say they can't do anything directly about window washers.

Window washers fall under Auckland Council's Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw and if found to repeatedly breach the bylaw can be fined up to $20,000 by the courts - although the council can't prosecute youths under 17.

Police are among a number of organisations, including Auckland Transport, that are encouraging the Government to change the law around window washers.

National MP Jami-Lee Ross is also pushing a drafted member's bill which would give police the power to issue a $150 fine to window washers on the spot.

"If police had the power to clean up intersections from window washers, harassment and attacks would be prevented from happening," Ross says.

The bill would amend the Land Transport Act to make it an offence to wash vehicles in a manner that may be unsafe or cause a nuisance to any person.

In the meantime, police are investing time and resources into the problem and will continue to carry out operations targeting window washers.

This includes the intersection of Mt Wellington Highway and Penrose Rd which is another window washing hotspot.