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Judicial CP - October 2003

Corpun file 12255

Manawatu Evening Standard, 22 October 2003

Councillor calls for taggers to be flogged

A call for taggers to be flogged in public has come after a spate of graffiti in Palmerston North.

At its meeting yesterday, the city council's community development, recreation and culture committee expressed its anger at the vandalism.

Cr Peter Claridge was keen to see some medieval justice.

"It seems to me it would be very easy to make an example out of these people.

"If there was a law for a public whipping in The Square I would vote for it," he said.

Cr Claridge said he had personally borne the brunt of taggers' work and was fed up.

"Why should I have to pay money to (clean off graffiti) when they will come back the next weekend and do it again."

Cr Heather Tanguay said the graffiti problem had worsened at an alarming rate recently.

"The problem is the increasing, every night tagging of businesses, power boxes, council furniture, bus stops . . . which for some unexplained reason has just escalated over the last few months.

Leaving the Freyberg swimming pool yesterday she was horrified "to see the sports club was absolutely covered with graffiti, which has just happened in the last few days".

Cr Tanguay said though businesses found it hard to cope with the cost of tagging, many weren't taking responsibility for cleaning it up.

Cr John Hornblow added his voice to the chorus of disgust, saying he was appalled to see the commuter train that runs between Palmerston North and Wellington had been tagged.

Four carriages of the Tranz Scenic train were spray painted in Palmerston North at the weekend. It was the second time in two weeks the train had been vandalised.

Tranz Scenic was considering building a fence at the station or employing a security guard.

Cr Hornblow was concerned that the steps to the council building had been defaced. He asked what kind of advertisement that sent out about Palmerston North.

Deputy Mayor Alison Wall questioned the wisdom of council spending only $10,000 in the next year to cover the cost of tagging. The committee subsequently called for funding to be reviewed.

Cr Lew Findlay said the scourge of graffiti was brought home to him when he learnt the Arohanui Hospice had been defaced.

He said graffiti was the signature of taggers, and they should be identified.

Urban Care chairwoman Ann Heaphy said businesses should be forced to clean off graffiti within a limited time.

Buildings shouldn't be allowed to get to fall into a bad state.

The committee resolved that Urban Care hold a public meeting of interested parties.

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