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Youth Targeted by Anti-Tagging Law

Wednesday, March 12 2008

Youth Targeted by Anti-Tagging Law

Youth advocacy group Youth Organised and United (YOU) claim that young people are being targeted by the proposed anti tagging legislation currently before parliament.

The group aired their concerns to members of the Law and Order Select Committee in a written submission condemning the bill as targeting and demonising all young people, for a crime that experts agree is perpetrated by a small hardcore of dedicated vandals. YOU spokesperson Daniel Luoni says that the law is unnecessary, as provisions for punishing taggers already exist under the charge of wilful damage. The ability to give community based sentences is also already under the power of a judge under the Sentencing Act of 2002.

“This law is being made as a knee jerk reaction to the recent media attention surrounding tagging, and as such doesn’t properly address the real issues at play” says Luoni. “By not making it illegal for spray cans to be on sold to a young person all that the bill, in its current form dose, is set up the very attractive money making option for over 18’s to sell on spray cans.”

“The bill also ignores the fact that it is not just under eighteens who tag, and tries to pin what is essentially a community problem entirely on young people. The government even goes so far as to describe tagging as an adolescent problem that offenders grow out of by their early twenties.”

“What this shows is that the decision makers of this country see all young people as criminals, and even though the issue sprang up out of the tragic death of a 15 year old, they refuse to address the real problems and would rather show boat for the public.” Luoni goes so far as to say that the law could be seen as a violation of young peoples human rights and that the only practical effect that it will have, will be to increase the fines that are absolutely no deterrent to dedicated vandals of all ages.

He finishes by stating that spray cans don’t have any where near the same risk factors as similarly banned items such as tobacco, party pills and alcohol, and that to put them at the same level only decreases the seriousness of these potentially harmful drugs. YOU plan to continue advocating for youth against this bill.


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