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Tagging hysteria attacked by Greens

15 February 2008

Tagging hysteria attacked by Greens

The political race to demonise New Zealand youth this election year has reached a new low, says Green Party Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos.

"The Prime Minister's anti-tagging stance is just more scapegoating. Anyone would think that spray cans are the most dangerous devices in the country," Nandor says.

"Keeping spray cans behind the counter, along with guns and tobacco, puts the nuisance of tagging on the same footing as gun crime and lung cancer.

"But this isn't really about spray cans. It's attack politics aimed at young people in general. They have no vote, little voice, and are an easy target.

"It is not reasonable to ban the sale of spray cans to young people because they may or may not use them for tagging. On what basis can the Government conclude that only under 18 year olds tag? To pass a blanket law against young people on such a flimsy pretext is straight forward discrimination and a breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights.

"Serious crime is going under-investigated but Labour is determined to capitalise on whipping up fear around an unsightly misdemeanour.

"If the Government is serious about addressing the problem of tagging, they must look beyond the state of fences and walls. Tagging is a symptom of boredom and under investment in our young people.

"There is not a community in New Zealand that has adequate low-cost facilities available for public use. Councils seem to think that they can spend a few thousand on a skateboard park and that should be enough to keep young people happy.

"No one wants graffiti scrawled around their neighbourhood, so if the Government and local councils are serious about addresses the issue of tagging they need to stop shouting at their young constituents, and start talking to them instead."

ENDS

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