QuoteTown moves to ban gang insignia
Article from: AAP
From correspondents in Wellington, New Zealand
September 30, 2008 01:35pm
A NEW Zealand town is a step closer to banning people wearing gang-related clothing or tattoos after a recommendation by a parliamentary committee.
Wanganui, a North Island town which was the scene of a brutal shooting last year when a toddler was gunned down in an alleged gang dispute, has sought to ban gang insignia from its streets.
There are thought to be at least 3500 so-called "patched'' gang members in New Zealand who can often be seen wearing tattoos or clothing adorned with gang emblems.
Although the local council could create a local by-law, it needed the backing of Parliament because of concerns the new law could breach New Zealand's Bill of Rights.
After passing its first reading in New Zealand's Parliament earlier this year by a vote of 106-13, the proposed law was yesterday given the green light by the Law and Order Committee.
The new Bill would ban the display of gang regalia, including patches, gang colours, and even some tattoos, in public in Wanganui.
Those caught wearing gang-related outfits could have the offending items confiscated, and be given a $NZ2000 ($1700) fine.
Before the Bill becomes law it will need to again be agreed to by Parliament.
Because an election is due on November 8 the fate of the bill will rest with the incoming Parliament.
Yesterday, New Zealand Corrections Minister Phil Goff said he hoped his country could learn from South Australia, and introduce laws that will smash gangs and eventually eliminate the trade in drugs.