Cindy Stafford was left "frightened and intimidated" after a window washer threw a bottle at her car twice, leaving a dent in the driver's door.

And while police, council and roading officials met last week to consider how to deal with the influx of window washers at major highway intersections, any solution is months away.

A driver education programme to run over summer would not start until late in the year and any plan to adopt council bylaws to cover highway intersections would take Land Transport New Zealand a year to implement.

The new school term and even inclement weather has failed to deter window washers out to make a buck and complaints from drivers continue.


Ms Stafford was driving towards Kamo when the lights turned red and she found herself at the front of the queue about 5pm on Sunday.

A window washer was quick to approach but she made it clear through hand gestures and by saying "no thanks" she did not want their services.

Window washers working at the traffic lights, State Highway 1 and Kamo Rd.
Window washers working at the traffic lights, State Highway 1 and Kamo Rd.

However, the window washer went to the rear of the car and began to wash the window.
Ms Stafford said she opened her door, if it had not been raining she would have got out, and again made it clear by yelling at him she did not need her window washed.

It was then another young man came running across the road and hurled a bottle at her car. Ms Stafford shut the door and the man then picked up the bottle and threw it again. As he pushed past the car he slammed the side mirror forward.

"I'm quite a bolshy person and normally wouldn't let this worry me but the guy came running at my car and threw a bottle. It was very frightening and intimidating," Ms Stafford said.

"If it was an elderly person they would have been terrified. I know they target women driving by themselves. My daughter is always harassed by them."

She continued through the intersection and stopped at the Whau Valley shops where she stopped and rang Whangarei police station. She was forwarded on to a call centre and after waiting for a while hung up. She rang again when she got home and reported the incident to police.

"I kept an eye on them at the intersection and as soon as they knew I was on the phone they disappeared. They knew they had done something wrong."


She is determined to identify the young man who dented her car door and make him pay for the insurance excess.

"Why should I pay for damage he has caused?" she said.
"I want these buggers stopped."

Last month the New Zealand Transport Agency hoped that a Whangarei District Council bylaw banning window washers at inner-city intersections could be extended to cover state highways.

The district council bylaw says no person within the area administered by the council can wash or clean, for payment or donation, the windows of any vehicle stopped on the road carriageway.

Window washers at Whangarei's non-highway intersections can be fined up to $500. Police can also intervene if a crime is committed.

However, window washers at state highway intersections cannot be fined.

Window washers run to get out of the way when the traffic lights turn green.
Window washers run to get out of the way when the traffic lights turn green.

These intersections come under the jurisdiction of the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) which is behind the push to expand the council bylaw to cover highway intersections. However, NZTA confirmed it would take a year to implement any bylaw.

Whangarei District Council confirmed there had been a meeting last week between council Chief executive Rob Forlong, NZTA Regional Director for Northland Ernst Zollner and Whangarei police Area Commander Inspector Justin Rogers.

They met to consider options and plan further action and all agreed a jointly organised education programme would be launched before summer reinforcing the rights of drivers, and how to deal with window washers.