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Graffiti Announcement a Start - Long Way To Go

Press Statement
15 February 2008

Jami-Lee Ross
Manukau City Councillor for Howick


Graffiti Announcement a Start - But Still a Long Way to Go


Howick Councillor Jami-Lee Ross has welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister today regarding the proposed graffiti legislation.

However Mr Ross says the law has serious flaws that need to be worked on before being passed.

"The proposed national graffiti bill is a good start, but there is still a lot of work to be done to make the legislation workable.

"The bill seeks to ban sale of spray cans to under 18s. However it is silent on provisions to address the likely scenario where a young person seeks an older person to purchase the spray can for them", he says.

"Restricting the age of purchase of spray cans is pointless unless there are similar restrictions on the carrying and use of spray cans for the purposes of vandalism."

In 2005 a local bill was promoted by Manukau City Council to control the sale and use of spray cans. This bill contains provisions to address the marking of graffiti and the carrying of graffiti implements.

"Although it is a welcome move by the Government to extend the Manukau City graffiti bill to a nation wide level, it is disappointing to see these important measures dropped from the government bill. Without these further restrictions, banning the sale of spray cans to minors will be completely ineffective."

Mr Ross also believes more emphasis needs to be put into enforcement to tackle the graffiti problem. He is critical of limited funding that the government is willing to commit to addressing graffiti enforcement. The Government has announced that it will be allocating two million dollars for the next three years for nationwide graffiti enforcement.

"Any offer of funding assistance is welcome, but given that Manukau City Council alone spends about a million dollars a year battling graffiti, $2 million dollars nationwide for graffiti measures will not go far," he says.

"Regulations are only useful if they are followed up with effective enforcement. We need greater numbers of police to catch and prosecute vandals. If the Government is serious about tackling graffiti, it should be willing to resource graffiti enforcement to a significant level."

"The community has been battling graffiti for many years. It is a disgusting form of vandalism that, if left unaddressed, only leads to greater criminal problems in the City."


Mr Ross says overall today's announcement is a move in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go in the fight against graffiti. "I welcome the Government's willingness to introduce graffiti legislation, but plead for them to provide more substantial measure than have already been announced."

ENDS

Note: The Manukau City Council (Control of Graffiti) Bill has passed its first and second reading in Parliament. It is awaiting further debate before being enacted, although it is not expected that the Bill will proceed any further if the Government graffiti legislation is passed.

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