Auckland Council has spent more than $150,000 prosecuting car window washers in the past two years, it revealed today.
Parliament is considering a bill in the name of National MP Jami-Lee Ross, which will ban window washers and allow police to issue spot fines of $150.
Auckland Council introduced a bylaw banning the practice in 2014, but said today it took a lot of time and resources to take washers to court.
Speaking to a select committee in Wellington this morning, the council said that there had been 63 breaches of the bylaw in the past two years and 36 window washers had been fined between $100 and $300.
Pursuing those sanctions came at a big cost to the council. Manukau-based councillor Alf Filipaiana it had spent $157,000 on the prosecutions.
The council supports Ross' bill because it lined up with its bylaw, and because it was concerned about washers' safety and the intimidation of drivers.
Window washers have been involved in several violent episodes.
In May last year, a 17 year-old washer attacked a driver with his cleaning brush at the Greenlane intersection - a popular spot for window washing. In July, three young window washers were arrested for robbery, also in Greenlane.
And in the most serious case, in April, a person who had been washing car windows beat a man who already had a brain injury with a copper pipe.
Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter asked the council why the law change was needed given that robbery and assault were already criminal offences. She also noted that the council's bylaw had failed to reduce window-washer related problems.
Filipaina said a law change would send a clear message to window washers about the dangers of their work.
National, Labour, Act and United Future supported the bill at the first reading. New Zealand First, the Green Party and the Maori Party voted against it.
The Greens said it would penalise poor people who were desperate to earn a few dollars.