PM announces plan to tackle graffiti

Written By: - Date published: 11:21 am, February 15th, 2008 - 25 comments
Categories: election funding - Tags:

Helen Clark has just announced a range of measures aimed at cutting down on graffiti vandalism.

Presumably the initiative will be supported by the Nats.

Who knows about the Free Speech Coalition though – their position on free speech seems remarkably dependent on who’s doing the speaking.


(From yesterday’s Southland Times)

25 comments on “PM announces plan to tackle graffiti”

  1. Damn! I’m in Invercargill next week and that particular piece of graffiti was on my schedule. Great minds think alike I guess…

  2. Sam Dixon 2

    Are you taking the hookers down to Shads now, ‘sod? Instead of him flying up to Auckland to them?

  3. Nah bro, it’s blow this time…

  4. Santi 4

    Apparently they saw someone in a Labour Party t-shirt running away from the scene immediately after the graffiti was discovered.

    Ah, the joy of freedom of speech!

  5. insider 5

    Good to see HC giving priority to one of the most significant issues facing our country at present.

  6. Matthew Pilott 6

    Yeah Santi, and when I go out to commit crimes, I wear a t-shirt with my name and address on it.

    Good call insider, something that costs several hundred million a year – best swept under the carpet. In case the rock you hide under doesn’t have broadband, there have been the odd policies about school and housing lately, so go have a cry over there, there’s a good dog.

    Ah, the joy of mocking idiots.

    Anyway this whole plan is a crock of shit – the Free Market will decide how much graffiti we need won’t it?

  7. insider 7


    Funny how tagging has been around for years (thousands if you want to be pedantic) but now it is election time that the crocodile tears spout forth and it is a major priority.

    I challenge your hundreds of millions cost. If it cost $100 an incident to deal with that would be 2700 incidents per day per $100 million. That is highly unlikely. And gioven you said it is several hundred million, it is even less likely.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    It’s election year, but given the homicide in ‘church it has become far higher profile lately – but I agree, the ban on spraypaint should have happened a long time ago. Honestly, is there anyone out there who uses the stuff legitimately?

    And that’s a serious question. I know it’s used in construction and road works, and the odd real artist uses it, but I’d guess 90% ends up as KILLA G 4da HOODZ and so on 😛

    I meant to write either hundreds of thousands, or millions, and eventually decided on a compromise, evidently 🙂 One that was well wrong.

    NZHerald gives a figure of $3 million for Auckland-Manakau combined, which has got to be the lion’s share of the costs. I think there’s another one or two mil down here in ’04 (Wellington), not to mention the Police time.

    If it costs six million in the short term (that was the cost of the new programmes combined) and saves that over a few years, the idea will have been worth it – if somewhat overdue.

    But as I always say – the electorate can have a short memory, so don’t be surprised when such positive action is taken in election year – it’s a very systemic problem.

  9. insider 9


    You should see the grafitti at Pompeii. Some of it dates back to Roman times. Talk about systemic! (Speaking of things Roman – and no I am not channelling DPF – if you haven’t watched Rome, you should just for the opening credits. Stunning art work created and a lot of funny stuff for us Classics students.)

    What Clark missed is an opportunity to start targeting those niggly little antisocial things that really get on decent tax payers tits. Tagging is only one. I think she could have positioned it as part of a determined strategy to focus on dealing with those ‘gateway’ offences that can provide either entry into lawlessness or personal danger (as has been demonstrated recently).

    Captcha – yesterday Scolding

  10. Steve Pierson 10

    insider. not to be picky, but considering Pompeii was covered by the volcanic explosion in roman times, it’s not surprising that’s when the graffiti there comes from.

    Apperently, there’s some bishop’s tome in England that is covered in graffiti carvings in old english, walsh, latin. that’s pretty cool.

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    Insider – I’d hope a good education policy would do that instead of taking the crime and punishment view. The idea of apprenticeships, vocational training and so on could do more to cut juvenile crime than any punishment regime will.

    What have you got in mind though? I’m instinctively against broad sweeps against percieved or real minor crime problems. Just upping the punishment doesn’t work, history has shown.

    With tagging, it’s specific, and there are specific solutions that can be augmented as the PM has done.

  12. Uroskin 12

    We could just stab the taggers. Talkback radio would appreciate a real National policy like that.

  13. Uroskin 13

    Oh, and regards “Rome”, loved how the boyz in da hood dealt with rivals. None of that namby pamby tagging on each others’ patch, but head down the toilet and a good rogering up the a*** instead. Those were the days when joining a gang was fun. Can’t remember learning about that in Latin lessons though. A classical education is still recommended.

  14. insider 14


    I think the first thing is for the police to take such offences seriously and act on them – there can be a fine line with harassment I accept. That does not mean harsher penalties – diversion and a good talking too is a great tool.

    But it means investigating and following up those incidents and being seen to do so, rather than just filling in a form. Consequences is another. I would like to see those doing the offences wearing the full cost of any repairs/clean up so that they feel the impact of what they have done. Often these things are done not out of spite but out of thoughtlessness. You don;t want to kill kids spirit but they also need to learn about their impact on their neighbours.


    The point was, the Romans tagged their buildings too meaning it’s not a new issue.

    Captcha – green direst (take that frogblog)


    John Key has defied the critics and released TWO of his party’s policies. Mr Key announced today that National will do the same, but fine taggers $2001

  16. Matthew Pilott 16

    Insider – it’s then a resourcing problem – the 1000 NewCops will help, but it seems in every modern society such crimes are all too infrequently investigated, and reported for insurance purposes only.

    Give ’em all pink jumpsuits to wear when they’re cleaning their mess up too, while I’m at it.

    So, (big philospohical question to contemplate over a beer) if I were to tag today, in Latin, would it be art or a crime?

    And don’t ask Turia.

  17. The Double Standard 17

    I wonder where the poor taggers are going get $2000 from – will they apply for a special grant from social welfare?

    After all, fines are so ineffective against boy racers that they are now being replaced…

    Large fines were also ignored until they were wiped by the courts because young people could not pay them.

    Still I suppose they have to be seen to be doing something in election year.

  18. Matthew Pilott 18

    That’s better TDS – linking a story to the topic!

    Fortunately, like boy racing, people can be made to suffer other punishments. In this case, it’s cleaning the mess up in a rather public fashion and so on, and with boy racers, tehy can lose their cars much more easily now than they did a few years back.

    There’s also a ban on spraypaint, which may or may not be effective, so it’s a bit more than being “seen to be doing something in election year”

    See, this is how most people post on blogs – they say something relevant, which may or may not be refuted, to which another relevant reply may be posted.

    [lprent: Good to hear. I was considering contributing against tagging myself.]

  19. Matthew Pilott 19

    lprent – I hadn’t picked you for a vigilante 🙂

    [lprent: I scan this stuff looking for behaviour that might attract my attention. I’m developing a sympathy for the ‘Bastard Operator From Hell’ – thanks to rOb for reminding me about lusers]

  20. shadders 20

    Meanwhile, in Invers, chinless secretive sectarians have been seen furtively hiding their lack of chin behind scarves (why didn’t they paint it over – it was there for a week, or was nobody looking at the idiotic billboard?)

  21. The Double Standard 21

    Presumably the initiative will be supported by the Nats.

    Well, maybe, although it is odd that Hawkin’s private members bill from 1985 restricting spray paint sales to 18 wasn’t supported well by Teh Party.

    They may have a few problems with support from the left though, with both Turia

    “Harsher penalties no cure for tagging”

    and 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”

    Also, it is interesting that Hawkins’ members bill on this same basic topic has been around since 2005, and didn’t exactly get a glowing endorsement from the select committee

    Although we do not believe that this bill is the right solution..

    Obvious, Benson-Pope, Burton, Hobbs, and Mackay weren’t so keep on the policy in 2006. I wonder why they changed their minds?

    And the MOJ found that the bill breached the bill of rights in two ways.

    Sadly it looks like Teh Party doesn’t have much respect for rights these days.

  22. Shucks no TDS – that’s why they’ve decided to disappear you in the middle of the night, oh hold on they haven’t – I guess this isn’t Nth Korea after all.

    If you want no respect for rights bro then I suggest you look across the chamber. Oh the stories I could tell you, you young National research whippersnapper…

  23. r0b 23

    I’m developing a sympathy for the ‘Bastard Operator From Hell’ – thanks to rOb for reminding me about lusers

    BOFH! That sure takes me back…

  24. dave 24

    Obviously Labour supporters from the NCEA school did this tagging. Exclusive has a capital E. At least we know it wasnt Chris Carter. He spells Esclusive “Exulcive”.
    We know it wasnt Robinsod. “Brethren” is spelled correctly. It wasn`t Tane – as ” bro” is not there.
    Perhaps it was David Benson Pope. Perhaps he tagged out the word “Kinx” on the bin as well.

  25. Hey steady on, I’ve can’t recall ever having spelled brethren wrong. I see you’ve misspelled “exclusive” though. Glass houses bro, glass houses…

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