Mum wants checks before teens pierced

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 04/01/2013
Lynette Halford
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ

ANGRY MOTHER: Invercargill woman Lynette Halford is angry her teenage daughter Jade was allowed to get a navel piercing without parental permission.

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An Invercargill mother is fuming after a tattoo parlour pierced her 15-year-old daughter's navel without parental permission.

It is the second time in recent months the same city tattoo parlour has come under fire for piercing girls without getting parental permission.

Lynette Halford said yesterday a female employee at Large as Life Tattoos pierced her daughter Jade's belly button last month, despite not having permission from her parents to do so.

Jade had a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old with her at the time, and none of the three was asked their age or whether they had permission, she said.

While Mrs Halford acknowledged it was unacceptable for the girls to go behind her back, she believed it was ultimately the responsibility of the tattooist to ask for age identification.

The tattoo parlour also came under fire for piercing another teenager last year.

Owner Peter Haggart admitted piercing a 14-year-old in August, after viewing a text message, said to be from the girl's mother, giving permission.

The girl's father later said his daughter did not have permission to get the piercing.

There is no legal age restrictions on piercings, but Ministry of Health and Invercargill City Council guidelines recommend parental permission be received before anyone under the age of 16 is pierced.

Mrs Halford said she was worried Mr Haggart might progress from piercing to tattooing teens without their parents' knowledge.

However, Mr Haggart said teenagers put him in a difficult position, because, although they were still under their parents' guardianship, they were old enough to think for themselves.

Although he checked identification before piercing, some teens told elaborate lies to avoid getting parental permission and they should accept some of the responsibility, he said.

"You can't say someone who is 14 or 15 doesn't know what they're doing. The fact that they've deceived their parents is my problem, but it shouldn't be.

"Personally, I hate it so much I'm thinking about giving up [the job]."

He believed the last complaint had cost him about $2500 in lost revenue when it appeared in the newspaper.

Some parents were happy for children as young as 12 to get navel piercings, which made it even more difficult to decide who should get the green light, Mr Haggart said.

When he did refuse to pierce young people, they often ended up resorting to risky self-piercing, he said.

He knew of a store in the central city where people of all ages could buy piercing needles and do the job themselves.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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