Are Hamilton City Council candidate Nick Ravlich's campaign signs street art or graffiti?
Restricted by a limited budget, Hamilton City Council candidate Nick Ravlich decided to get creative with his campaign.
Armed with a water blaster and a home-made stencil, he took to the streets and conducted a "reverse graffiti attack" on the city, water-blasting "Vote Nick Ravlich to clean up our city" on more than 50 grubby pavements throughout Hamilton.
However, his advertising technique has been deemed vandalism by the very body to which he hopes to get elected - and he was yesterday issued with an ultimatum to get rid of it within 24 hours, or face "further penalties".
"Council works closely with police on graffiti, tagging and vandalism issues, and we can confirm this method of election advertising constitutes ‘Wilful Damage - Graffiti' under the Summary Offences Act," council spokesman Jeff Neems said, when queried by the Waikato Times on whether Mr Ravlich's choice of medium was legitimate.
"It's also important to note council has identified a number of specific sites for election advertising this year - and the Anglesea Street wall and the Hood Street crossing are not included."
Mr Ravlich, who is standing in the west ward, described reverse graffiti as street art with an eco-element - a technique whereby the artist cuts through and cleans up grit to leave a lasting impression on a surface.
"I decided to include a reverse graffiti stunt in my campaign as it symbolises what I stand for and demonstrates what can be achieved with a small budget if you are resourceful," Mr Ravlich said.
He said he would abide by the council's edict, but if it was indeed graffiti then he would have expected the police to be involved.
"I'll get rid of it. But a lot of these guys with the bigger budgets can get themselves much better exposure than us little guys."
Mr Ravlich said his ad technique also showed he was willing to stand up for working class Hamiltonians who were represented by councillors "struggling to relate to the needs of 50 per cent of Hamilton's population, who are under 35".
"We, the youth of Hamilton, aren't asking for much.
"All we ask is that the council carries out the simple things well and stops wasting money on unnecessary policies," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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