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Govt’s STOP strategy won’t stop graffiti

Media release

Newmarket Business Association

Friday, 5 September 2008

Govt’s STOP strategy won’t stop graffiti

The Government’s release of its STOP (Stop Tagging Our Place) strategy designed to combat graffiti is a step in the right direction but it won’t in fact stop graffiti as its name suggests, claims a key Auckland business district.

“International studies show that legislation alone doesn't get rid of graffiti, but instantly painting it out does,” says Cameron Brewer, head of the Newmarket Business Association.

Justice Minister Annette King has officially launched the STOP strategy which includes lifting the maximum fine for tagging from $200 to $2,000 and banning the sale of spray cans to people under 18.

"The strategy offers useful deterrents but the public still needs to keep vigilant. The most effective way to take the wind out of taggers’ sails is to paint out their vandalism as soon as it appears. Let’s not forget that their whole modus operandi is to be noticed.”

Mr Brewer said two years ago Newmarket adopted a zero-tolerance graffiti programme which sees the employment of a professional graffiti eradication company, Graffiti Solutions, painting out tags immediately and using only matching paint. He says Newmarket was once covered in graffiti but today tags are almost impossible to find.

“The key is to eradicate graffiti quickly and immaculately. Talk fests and tougher penalties are useful, but the reality is taggers don’t care so much about rules. What they do care about is gaining attention, and the best way to counter that is with a paint brush. That is our ‘stop strategy’ and it has been the most successful in the country,” says Mr Brewer.


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