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Get serious about graffiti - bring on the tag-cams

Mark Blumsky
National MP

17 November 2006

Time to get serious about graffiti - bring on the tag-cams

Wellington-based National MP Mark Blumsky is calling for an urgent Government response to the growing problem of graffiti vandalism following the report of the Local Government and Environment Committee recommending that the Manukau City Council (Control of Graffiti) Bill not proceed.

“The bill was developed by the council in response to the growing graffiti problem in Manukau City. While the committee was sympathetic to the intent of the bill, we felt that legislating for a local solution to a national problem would create a host of legal and enforcement issues. The local approach would also be unlikely to achieve the objective of curbing graffiti – at best it would simply drive it into other areas,” says Mr Blumsky.

“The committee heard from the Minister of Justice that the Government had a plan to address graffiti issues. However, I am concerned that the plan will not be fully rolled out until 30 June 2010. That is just too long to wait. You only need to look around Wellington to see that tagging is a rapidly growing problem,” he says.

“I’m calling on Labour to speed up the implementation of its graffiti plan so it is fully operational by the end of 2007. I will also be promoting a number of tougher responses to the spread of graffiti including:

- Zero tolerance for graffiti vandalism

- Heavier sentences for graffiti crimes to deter and punish vandals

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- Part of any punishment should include cleaning up graffiti

- Government funding of neighborhood kits to help communities clean up their streets

- Trialing of “tag-cams” – mobile surveillance equipment to photograph offenders at graffiti hot-spots.

“We owe it to the people of Manukau and across the country to get this right. We can’t wait till 2010 to attack graffiti. The Government needs to provide an urgent, proactive and national response to this growing scourge now,” he says.

ENDS

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