Time is up for rogue taggers
Taggers, take note: Mayor Len Brown is on your tail and he will not tolerate graffiti in his city.
Sports stars Ruben Wiki and Cynthia Ta'ala backed the mayor's call when the Auckland Council's anti-graffiti campaign was launched in Otara on Tuesday.
"Tagging is not acceptable and is an affront to our communities," Mr Brown says.
"It completely discolours our communities and impacts on our urban amenities."
The Auckland Graffiti Vandalism Prevention Plan has several facets, including a 24-hour clean-up service, with an urgent two-hour callout service if the tagging is offensive, and education programmes.
Prosecution is an option for those caught tagging and getting communities involved through the Adopt-a-spot scheme is another way of curbing graffiti, Mr Brown says.
The Otara Scorpions rugby league club commissioned a mural of local league legends Manu Vatuvei, Wiki and Black Fern Ta'ala at its clubrooms in a bid to instil community pride and prevent graffiti.
Mr Brown says getting government agencies and corporates involved can help reduce tagging further.
The council's budget to reduce graffiti across the region is more than $4 million.
Mr Brown says the programmes are working, with 300,000 tags reduced to 50,000 during his time as mayor of Manukau. But there is still plenty of work to do. "It's not a battle you win overnight."
Ruben Wiki says he is honoured to be depicted on the clubrooms mural, which sends such a positive message.
"It's a huge privilege to be part of this."