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Waitakere Mayor Applauds New Graffiti Measures

MEDIA RELEASE

February 15, 2008

Waitakere Mayor Applauds New Graffiti Measures

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey today applauded the government’s hard line on graffiti.

Mayor Harvey, who was with the Prime Minister Helen Clark in Manukau when she announced tougher penalties and other anti-graffiti measures, says with this initiative central and local governments can work closer together to resolve the problem.

“Graffiti is a blight on our landscape and we need to work together to stamp it out,” he said.

“In Waitakere we have had huge success thanks to our Tag Out Trust but the cost is still more than $1 million a year – that’s one percent straight on to rates bills. With more government funding and a closer relationship between central and local government I think we’ll be able to make even more of a difference.”

Waitakere had a voluntary system in place with retailers about five years ago where they would lock spray cans away however Mayor Harvey says many “unscrupulous retailers” continued to sell spray cans to youngsters.

In another initiative the mayor personally offered a reward from his own pocket for an offender who persistently tagged the city’s new Glen Eden library. “He was dobbed in by his mates which just goes to show that sometimes the carrot is as successful as the stick,” says Mayor Harvey.

Waitakere’s Tag Out Trust was set up in 1996 and currently removes an average of 22,000 tags a month.

“Also in Waitakere we have commissioned local artists to paint the utility and traffic light boxes throughout the city,” says Mayor Harvey.

“The artists have been at work for two years and to date we now have 52 very attractive and eye catching boxes which have not once been tagged. Art can make a difference and that might be something we look at increasing in this war against graffiti.”

ENDS

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