Police are set to get the power to give windscreen washers at intersections a $150 spot fine.

National and Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross has put forward changes to a Land Transport Amendment Bill which he expects to pass into law before Parliament rises this month for the election campaign.

"In my view, window washing at intersections will be banned in weeks, if not days," Ross told the Herald.

"Police have a prevention-first approach to policing. They were powerless on this issue, this will give police a tool to move them on from intersections. I don't imagine police are going to sit on intersections waiting for window washers to come.


"But where they know there are hotspots, they will now have the power to move in and move the window washers on."

Ross had a private member's bill targeting windscreen washers pass its first reading in April. However, with two more readings it was not due to progress for some time. Using a supplementary order paper to insert clauses into the Land Transport legislation will speed up the changes.

Some councils, including Auckland Council, have bylaws aimed at stopping windscreen washers. However, Auckland Council has to prosecute to enforce its bylaw, a process that can cost up to $5000 for the sake of a $200 fine.

Ross said windscreen washing could lead to antisocial behavior and crime in an area. Motorists could be intimidated or even attacked, he said, and recently a window washer was knocked down by a car.

"Counties Manukau Police have talked to me and other local MPs about their concerns. The police know where intensive window washing activity takes place, they have to get involved in wider antisocial problems that come about through window washing.

"Police have no power to act right now. Police's view is it is a council bylaw issue and they don't have the ability to enforce it or take a prevention-first approach. They would prefer - and this is where the idea came from."

Ross' bill passed its first reading in April with support from National, Labour, Act and United Future. It was opposed by NZ First, the Green Party and Maori Party. At the time, Green Party MP Jan Logie said the change risked being an attack on the poor.

"We need to ask ourselves, 'why are people doing this work?' Is it because it seems like a fun job, or is it because people are desperate?" Logie said.


Auckland Mayor Phil Goff did not respond to a request for comment. However, Auckland Council in May submitted in support of Ross' bill, saying prosecution was expensive for the council and was not always the most appropriate solution.

The council received 314 complaints about windscreen washers last year, with 61 people prosecuted under the Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw since 2013. Serious incidents associated with window washing included a driver being attacked with a cleaning brush in May last year.

"The council's position supports infringement fines as the most effective means of regulating vehicle washing behavior, and police are best placed to enforce the bill," the submission states.

A police spokesman said they did not comment on legislation that was still before Parliament.

The supplementary order paper put forward to insert new clauses into the Land Transport Amendment Bill (No 2) makes it illegal for a pedestrian to wash or offer to wash a vehicle, or part of a vehicle, on a road unless the vehicle is legally parked. Offences and penalties regulations will be amended to provide associated penalties.

The Automobile Association has previously expressed support for the change, and has urged drivers to not pay windscreen washers.