Piercing bylaw plan welcomed

BY DANIEL LYNCH
Last updated 05:00 08/05/2010
Taranaki tattoo bylaw
DANIEL LYNCH
PAINLESS PROCEDURE: New Plymouth tattoo artist Wally Somers approves of a plan to introduce new rules governing hygiene standards within the tattoo industry.

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Parents worried about their teenager's plans to get a tattoo or piercing may soon be able to breathe a little easier.

The New Plymouth District Council is considering a new bylaw that will force tattooists and body piercers to become licensed and impose strict health standards.

The aim of the bylaw, which council says has received initial support from local tattooists, is to prevent the transmission of diseases such as Hepatitis B and C.

At present 87 businesses in the district engage in skin piercing and tattooing, yet there is no specific legislation that oversees how procedures are carried out.

The new bylaw would set standards surrounding sterilisation of equipment, general health and safety as well as requiring accurate record-keeping.

Tattoo artist Wally Somers, who works at Dreamcoat in New Plymouth, believes the new rules will ease fears about the safety and cleanliness of tattoo parlours.

"Basically I am all for it. It's going to give customers more peace of mind when they come into a studio and [they will] not have to worry about what is clean and what is not," said Mr Somers.

Vision tattoo artist Jody Ward said he was also OK with the bylaw but had concerns about its policing. "It's only going to cover people doing the right thing anyway. Someone can just buy a kit off Trade Me and operate at home," he said.

Home operators were outside the council's scope, Mr Ward said, and they were the problem.

The NPDC youth subcommittee debated the proposed bylaw this week and voted unanimously to approve its release for public consultation.

"Hopefully these places have plenty of integrity as it is, but I think any measure which enforces standards is a good thing," said chairperson Jamie Fenton.

"Young people are enthusiastic about getting a lot of these things done but they don't necessarily think about the possible consequences."

The youth subcommittee's recommendation will be considered by the policy committee at its meeting on May 18.

 Daniel Lynch is a Witt journalism student.

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