Some of Whangarei's windscreen washers have been slammed with $150 fines thanks to new legislation and it seems to have had the desired effect with the teams notably absent from major intersections.
Windscreen washers at Whangarei intersections now face a $150 instant fine from police thanks to changes to the Land Transport Amendment Bill.
Warmer weather, daylight savings and the lure of cash for Christmas over the last few summers has lured teams of window washers to major intersections.
In August last year National and Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross put forward changes to a Land Transport Amendment Bill which was passed into law before Parliament went into election mode.
The changes came into force on August 11 and have given police the power to give windscreen washers a $150 spot fine. There is a maximum fine of $1000 if a case ends up in court.
Road Policing Senior Sergeant Ian Row confirmed that from August 11 to September 30 Northland officers had issued seven fines and given five others written warnings.
He said officers had warned the window washers initially.
"It had a massive effect straight away and we are just going to enforce it now."
The new legislation, clause 11.6A, washing of vehicles, says a pedestrian must not wash or offer to wash a vehicle, or part of a vehicle on a road unless it is legally parked.
The Whangarei District Council made a submission supporting the changes.
WDC staff considered a national approach was appropriate and the power to issue fines would provide a much-needed simple and low-cost tool.
Four major intersections previously frequented by the window washers around Whangarei came under the control of the New Zealand Transport Agency and outside the jurisdiction of the council bylaws.
Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai welcomed news that police were able to issue $150 fines.
"Our council lobbied central government to make this alteration to the act. We are pleased that police can now issue instant fines, although we do realise the change puts a new workload on to them, Ms Mai said.
"We all hope the fines prove to be a fast deterrent to the window washers."
Sarah Azem of New Zealand Transport Agency said as the agency was not enforcing the fines they would not comment on the law change and what impact it might have.