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Anti-tagging legislation not working in NSW

Press Release

Newmarket Business Association

Sunday 17 February 2008

Concerns that similar anti-tagging legislation not working in NSW

Auckland’s leading retailing district says while it is good news the Government is getting tougher on taggers, public expectations need to be managed.

Head of the Newmarket Business Association Cameron Brewer claims much of the Government’s anti-tagging strategy has been based what’s already been legislated in New South Wales, which is now under scrutiny.

“We are pleased that the Government is going to ban under 18-year-olds from buying spray cans and generally get tougher on taggers. However, almost exactly the same measures have been introduced in New South Wales, with that government and community now concerned the legislation’s not working.

“NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos recently launched an urgent review of the effectiveness of legislation against the blight of graffiti. He is frustrated that tough NSW legislation has not stopped its spread.

“New South Wales has had some really tough legislation in place for some time. Like our Government’s proposed measures, NSW bans under 18-year-olds from purchasing spray cans, forces retailers to lock spray cans away, issues offenders with big fines, makes taggers clean up their damage, and has a jail sentence of up to six months for offenders caught in the act.*

NSW is also introducing new laws to give police the power to confiscate spray paint cans from minors who do not have a good reason for having the cans in their possession.

“Across the ditch their legislation has been arguably tougher than what is proposed here, yet Australian authorities are concerned it hasn’t been enough to slow down taggers. In fact as part of the recently announced review, the NSW Attorney-General suggested that the NSW Government may even consider a complete ban on the sale of spray paint.

“Introducing tougher penalties and banning the sale of spray paint to under 18-year-olds will be useful tools here in New Zealand. However changing the law alone won’t solve the problem. Nothing is more effective in the war on graffiti than painting it out immediately – that is what local authorities and the public have to continue doing.”

Mr Brewer said Newmarket has shown over the past year what can be achieved with its much celebrated zero tolerance strategy. Tags in Newmarket are removed within hours and only matching paint is used. Auckland’s leading retail district has effectively wiped out graffiti by bringing in a professional and daily eradication service.

* www.graffiti.nsw.gov.au

ENDS


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