'Pinkwashing' statement on LGBTI politics video

SEAN WILLIS/Stuff.co.nz

ANZ's Ponsonby Branch and the Ponsonby Police Station has been painted pink in an act of vandalism.

Three ANZ bank branchs and a police station are the latest targets of "pinkwashing" overnight.

Pink paint has been thrown over the front of the bank's Ponsonby and Mt Eden branches and the Ponsonby police station, accompanied by letters outlining the reasons behind the attacks.

The "pinkwashing" comes days after a glittering ANZ ATM money machine was defaced..

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Auckland 'GAYTM' hit by vandals

Gay group claims responsibility for 'Gaytm' vandalism

ANZ gave an Auckland ATM a glittering sequined makeover as a "GAYTM" ahead of the weekend's Pride Parade, but by last Friday someone had smothered it in pink paint, the bank said it was "pretty sad" about the vandalism.

The "pinkwashing" was initially billed as homophobic vandalism but a group called Queers Against Injustice has since claimed responsibility for defacing the GAYTM.

The group took to social media to explain the meaning behind the vandalism.

The group claimed the bank had "co-opted" gay symbolism for commercial purposes, using it to obscure their business practises and treatment of workers.

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"It is disheartening that the representation of our symbolic pinkwashing of the GAYTM has been manipulated into an act of hatred and complicity," the group said.

"This misrepresentation reinforces the image of tolerance that ANZ has spent a lot of money marketing to us."

The letters pasted to the front of the Ponsonby ANZ with pink paint outlined similar claims.

The letters said companies like ANZ strategically used gay-friendly marketing to increase profits by exploiting workers' rights.

The letters also drew attention to the arrest and treatment of a transwoman at Auckland's Pride Parade last weekend.

Further details on the latest "pinkwashing", including who is responsible, are not yet known.

Graffiti Guard's Roy Winiata has been tasked with cleaning the enamel paint from the ANZ.

Winiata, who also cleaned the paint from the GAYTM last week, said it was the same paint used in the previous vandalism and it appeared to have been done by the same people.

"It's a shame really."

Winiata said the paint would come off with a bit of hot water but it was a slow process.

ANZ pride network chairman Craig Bonnington said the vandalism of the GAYTM and the bank's Ponsonby and Mt Eden branches was "heartbreaking".

It was counter-productive to what the bank and the LGBTI community was trying to achieve, Bonnington said.

ANZ worked to support the wider LGBTI community and its workers and the GAYTM was only one aspect of a wider initiative, he said.

Bank staff was upset by the attacks but were dealing with it well.

"I guess when you put yourself out there you have to stand up to lots of criticism."

Bonnington, who is also an ANZ business development manager, is openly gay and has been the head of the New Zealand chapter of ANZ's pride network for the past eight years.

The attack on the banks and the GAYTM showed a need to engage further with the community over LGBTI matters, he said.

"It's a real shame that someone can take this and manage that message in a completely inappropriate way."

ANZ was working with police to investigate who was behind the vandalism, Bonnington said.

An officer at Ponsonby Police station said it was the first time the station had been the target of a paint attack.

Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said the Avondale Police Station was also targeted in the same style of paint attack.

Police were investigating the damage to the Ponsonby and Avondale police stations and the ANZ ATMs and bank entrances in Ponsonby, Avondale and Mt Eden Village, she said.

City Western Area Commander Inspector Jacqui Whittaker said it was disappointing that a seemingly small group of ill-informed and intolerant activists were prepared to direct their prejudices at police and the bank.

"I'd certainly welcome the opportunity to discuss this group's issues with them, in person and with no paint tins around.

"Police generally and I personally are proud of the fact we embrace diversity when it comes to those communities we police and the people we work with."

Anyone with information about who's responsible for the 'paint-bombing' should contact Constable Andrew Spraggs at Avondale Police Station - andrew.spraggs@police.govt.nz  or phone 021 191 2897. 

 - Stuff

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