Plea to control rogue tattooists

The Nelson City Council is calling on the Government to regulate the tattoo industry and renegade operators.

Health and safety and consent problems with underground tattoo artists or scratchers have emerged this year, prompting Nelson MP Nick Smith to urge local government to introduce a bylaw to control the industry.

But Nelson mayor Rachel Reese has told her fellow councillors that the industry could be regulated under the Public Health Bill.

The bill was introduced to Parliament in 2007, but never made it into law with the change of government in 2008.

Smith said he was not sure what had happened to the bill since then, but with Parliament about to rise for the September election, the Nelson council was still in the best position to deal with the issue.

Auckland's bylaw for the industry had worked well, he said, and his preference was for the council to pick up the supercity's bylaw and apply it in Nelson.

The council's planning and regulatory committee chairman Brian McGurk said it had been suggested that Government adopt Auckland's bylaw for the whole of the country to prevent inconsistencies between areas.

Otherwise local authorities around the country would be left struggling to develop regulation, he said.

McGurk said Auckland was in a different category with a third of the country's population compared to smaller places such as Nelson.

"It's an option, but not a particularly practical one to do our own bylaw," he said.

McGurk said the issue was not high on the priority list as there were more pressing matters that council staff were working on, but the committee was waiting for a report on the issue.

The council had not heard much public feedback about the matter, but if it was seen by the community to be a higher priority more attention could be given to it.

The Nelson Mail