Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Car window washers wiped out

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

Car window washers who cause a nuisance have been put out of action by Auckland Council's new public safety and nuisance rules which came into force today.

Window washing is technically not banned, said council bylaws and compliance manager Max Wilde.

"It's just that the bylaw makes it illegal to wash or offer to wash a vehicle in an intimidating manner, cause a nuisance or cause obstruction to traffic.

"Window washers are also placing themselves in danger by working in the middle of busy oncoming traffic."

However, street beggars are able to carry on under the bylaw, providing they do it passively instead of using aggressive or intimidating behaviour.

Neither the rules for car washing nor begging carry infringement notices.

But the bylaw enables the council to work with the police who could take action against a window washer if there was a traffic safety breach.

Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney said the problem of people begging was now able to be dealt more clearly and humanely and helpfully than by a prosecution.

On the third warning, people would be referred to the New Beginnings Court which was a specialist court set up to deal with the homeless and where social agencies were available.

The bylaw balanced the right of business to do business and people to use a public place without feeling intimidated.

The bylaw gave a greater definition around what is intimidatory behaviour, and when people begging could be asked to move on.

Mr Swney said the acid test would be how the rule was administered by the council.

Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson said the mission helped to draft the begging provisions, as did a group of homeless people who used the mission's services.

"People begging are not allowed to be menacing, offensive or abusive and will get fair warning."

Mrs Robertson said not all beggars were homeless, and some had been offered lots of help by agencies but chose to not engage with them and to get on the bus and go home.

Mr Wilde said the purpose of the Super City bylaw, which replaces 11 different sets of bylaws of the former councils, was to promote a safe Auckland.

"The bylaw gives is a tool to prevent escalation of low level activities which could lead to more serious offending.

"Our staff will take a graduated approach when applying the bylaw, with voluntary compliance and education being the main focus."

- NZ Herald

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