28 Apr 2015

Push for ban on window washers

8:10 pm on 28 April 2015

A South Auckland security officer has to wear a stab proof jacket after receiving death threats from window washers.

The intersection on Manukau's Cavendish Road and Great South Road is a popular spot for window washers in South Auckland.

Surrounding businesses say the window washers try to steal dishwashing liquid and water from the stores and harass staff and customers.

Window washers in South Auckland

Window washers in South Auckland Photo: RNZ / Tiana Barns

The Manukau Business Associationhas brought out dashboard cards for people who don't want their windows washed, but wants window washing made illegal.

Association chairperson Stuart Palmer said the crime prevention officer had received death threats from window washers he has trespassed.

"He's got a flack jacket now which is stab-proof, we've had to put a camera on him and we've also had to make sure he stays clear of that area in peak times.

"A death threat you have to take seriously, and it's not just one - he's had a couple of them."

A bylaw introduced in May last year made it illegal to wash a car in an intimidating manner or way that may be unsafe, but Mr Palmer said that was not enough.

"This needs to be illegal because it's dangerous, it's harassment, it's not good for the local businesses - they don't want it.

"And we're not against window washers, we're just against the behaviour of what it stands for."


There are currently 13 prosecutions before the Court relating to breaches of the bylaw, and one window washer has been convicted.

The council's bylaw manager Max Wilde said the council tries to educate offenders about the by law before taking the matter further.

"For graduated enforcement, it's an education process to start with, going to talk to the individuals, advising them they are in breach of the by law. If they continue to breach the bylaw, then we escalate the issue."

He said window washing could be become illegal when the council reviews the bylaw.

"The council is revisiting the bylaw in the middle of this year to consider issues like that - the bylaw currently only bans window washing where it's a safety issue or people are intimidating. It's not completely banned."

No major incidents, says window washer

Luke Newton has been washing windows for over eight years and said making the act illegal won't stop window washers.

He said they aren't impacting on the surrounding businesses by working in the area.

"There's been no robberies here - no one has had their purse snatched or anything like that. There's been no major incidents, like any of us getting run over, there's been no deaths.

"So it can't be that big of a deal for safety issues."

Mr Newton said it was new people who had earned a bad reputation for window washers.

"The guys who are doing the intimidating, they're basically new to the job ... but it's keeping them off the street, keeping them busy.

"They're not robbing people or doing burglaries. They could be doing a lot worse things than this."

Police said they have received a high number of calls for about issues with window washers.

They are advising the public to not pay window washers who are intimidating and take a photo of the offender to pass onto the police.

The Automobile Association backed a ban on window washers in Auckland.

The AA's general manager of motoring affairs Mike Noon said window washers caused safety issues and distract drivers at busy intersections.

Mr Noon said councils would have to introduce bylaws to make the activity illegal on local roads.