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Anti tagging legislation welcomed

Media Release
15 February 2008

Manukau City Council is welcoming the Government’s new national anti tagging strategy, “Stop Tagging Our Place”, to be launched in Clendon today.

Manukau Mayor Len Brown says the strategy recognises that the serious problem of illegal graffiti needs a national effort to deal with it effectively.

“We especially welcome the additional Government funding to assist communities with graffiti reduction,” he says. “This new initiative is a good first step towards dealing with a problem that our communities have had enough of. Our people have been saying for years that something tough needs to be done, and the Government’s new proposals will be very welcome in that regard.

“This council has put considerable efforts and resources into combating graffiti vandalism in the city. We spend more than $1 million a year on clean-up and prevention education programmes - but further improvements had been limited because of a lack of powers under current legislation.

“That’s why the council took a stand and promoted its own local Control of Graffiti Bill.”

Mr Brown says the council will hold its local Control of Graffiti Bill until it is able to assess the impact of the new national strategy. However, he says it’s clear that the new legislation, such as banning the sale of spray cans to under 18 year olds, goes a long way toward addressing the council’s wishes in its own Bill.

“This is an indication that Manukau City Council has been on the right path toward addressing this issue. In fact, I believe the council’s work has provided the leadership and impetus for this national initiative.

“To that end, this council, and the nation, owes a great debt of gratitude to my predecessor Sir Barry Curtis whose enormous energy and drive kept this issue at the forefront of Parliament, resulting in the national legislation we have had announced today. I congratulate him and the previous council for their constant commitment to ensuring local authorities are given the tools they need to combat this destruction of our visual environment.”

Mr Brown says Manukau City Council is now looking forward to its own campaign against graffiti vandalism being reinforced by the new strategy.

“This council will be devoting even more resources to eliminating this source of vandalism in our city, with the aim of reducing tagging by more than ninety per cent. The good thing is that there will now be a national campaign, meaning our local initiative will not suffer from working in isolation.”

Manukau’s local Control of Graffiti Bill is currently before Parliament after its second reading. The Manukau bill is the first piece of criminal law legislation to be promoted by a council in New Zealand. It proposes instant fines, asks for limits on the sale of spray paint cans to minors, and argues that police should be given the right to question and arrest persons suspected of being involved in tagging. It also seeks the right for council to enter private property to remove tagging.

Media release issued by Manukau City Council, Phone: 09 262 5223
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