Window washers row reignites

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Jaymesh Kumar is frustrated by window washers near his business. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

By Georgina Harris

A Rotorua store owner says window washers at intersections are "killing" his business by scaring away customers.

But one local window washer says no harm is being done and washers in Rotorua are providing a service for people that want it.

It comes as parliament considers a bill cracking down on car window washers causing a nuisance.

Jaymesh Kumar, owner-operator of Westend Dairy on Malfroy Rd, said he believed window washers drove customers away.

"[Customers] don't stop anymore, they don't want to come."

He said they were "killing my business".

Mr Kumar said he called the police "every day" about the issue.

National MP Jami-Lee Ross' bill is aimed at the window washers at intersections and

bans people washing a car or a part of a car on a road if it is unsafe, causes an

obstruction or "may intimidate or cause a nuisance" to others.

If the bill is passed, window washers at intersections could be fined $150 on the spot by the police. The Transport and Industrial Relations Committee is currently considering the bill.

Rotorua already has a bylaw to stop window washers - but it has to prosecute people

to enforce it, with a maximum fine of $20,000.

Mr Kumar said he was worried if the bill was only for intersections it would be "back to square one".

"It doesn't solve the problem, they'll basically move to the shopping centre."

But Mr Kumar was also concerned about the window washers.

"They need support. Why are they doing this? There is no support for them. Where can they go for help if they are having financial difficulties?"

Local window washer Brian 'BamBam' Mollgaard said he had been doing it for 25 years "on and off", using a mixture of dishwashing liquid and methylated spirits to clean the windows.

Continued below.

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He wasn't impressed about the possible fine.

"If they just leave us alone, we're just making a couple of bucks."

Mr Mollgaard sees what he, and others like him, do as helpful.

"It's getting rid of the pollen and grime off people's cars."

He said he only washes a car's window if the people inside said yes when asked, out of courtesy and respect.

The money he made from window washing he spends on necessities such as bread, milk and sugar, and it's not his only job - he also mows lawns and chops wood.

He said he did understand some people's opposition to window washers.

"[Window washers] scare them."

Rotorua police area prevention manager Inspector Stuart Nightingale said he had received complaints about some window washers being disruptive and sometimes intimidating.

Mr Nightingale said at times police have had to intervene and take action.

"I'm not aware of any road rage but I am aware of upset shop owners and some intimidation leading to complaints... I completely understand their position, they have a business to run and [window washers] shouldn't put people off."

He said he thought the bill would make the current prosecutorial side easier.

And Mr Nightingale was understanding of the window washers' situations.

"I would like to think the frontline police would apply common sense and human factor and consider why people are doing this. For some their income is created by doing [this] service but the public perception is linked to being a nuisance and intimidation."

The public are able to put in submissions on the bill until June 1.

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6 Comments

Skippy

- Central North Island
09:01 pm Friday 21 April 2017
Well said Gordy. These people are p***ing of the majority, yet getting away with it. There are rules in place to stop this, so why are they not being enforced? Too much Hui, no doi ...

Gordy

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08:12 pm Friday 21 April 2017
Everyone when 'working' in workplaces as hazardous as a busy intersection would have to wear fluro jackets, safety boots, helmets, cones etc etc.......so where are theirs?? Worksafe, where are you? Police, just do your job, it's not up to you to interpret why these thugs are intimidating people, we already know that, it's to extort tax free money from nervous motorists to top up benefit money.

Granny

- New Zealand
12:03 pm Friday 21 April 2017
Mr Molgaard might be polite and respectful to car owners but unfortunately, he is in the minority. Most of the washers I come across are large and intimidating and leave you in no doubt as to what they think when you refuse their services.

supernova2

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12:03 pm Friday 21 April 2017
I'm sure that all these "service providers" have full business insurance and pay ACC levies and tax on their earnings. Of course they don't. Get rid of them. I don't think that the Police have any need, or legal obligation, to consider why people are doing this "work". The Police need to move them on if they are being a nuisance or causing a traffic hazard.
It's called "safer communities together".

Skippy

- Central North Island
12:02 pm Friday 21 April 2017
Go perform a decent civil service. Start cleaning up Graffitti ..

Skippy

- Central North Island
12:02 pm Friday 21 April 2017
Hope they are paying tax. And hydrocarbon base liquid destroys rubber - wiper blades etc, so I don't want this c**p on my car thanks. Go get a real job.

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