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Sign Vandalism

  • October 30th, 2008

I was also glad to meet Trevor Mallard today for another reason. He congratulated me on the stand we’ve taken on smashed signage, and said he was similarly hunting vandals, and that his team had caught one this week. The vandal was taken to the Police after the large team member who caught him was persuaded not to administer his own punishment.

I wish Grant Robertson had consulted Trevor before his condescending rejection of  my invitation to set an example by working cooperatively against vandalism. Graffiti, vandalism and street crime generally are major concerns for many Wellingtonians. We have an opportunity to show that we mean more than fine words and empty promises. I offered a chance to show that practical community cooperation could work, and Grant trivialises it.

I’m glad to report that all three of the students previously shown in photos posted on this blog have now got in touch, and their offer to help us has been accepted.

I believe in restorative justice, when the apology is genuine. In this case I told each boy that I was happy to remove their photographs simply because they’d fronted up and apologised. They maintained their offer of help, which is gratefully accepted.


  • Ed
  • October 31st, 2008
  • 9:10 am Perhaps you could consider using something like this in future campaigns, Stephen.

  • mike mckee
  • October 31st, 2008
  • 10:25 am

simple rule in life.

Does it belong to you?
Do you have permission of the owner to touch it?

If answer no to either, keep your hands in your pocket.

Pity all those in parliament don’t live by this as it would save on newspaper columns.

  • Tom
  • October 31st, 2008
  • 3:58 pm

I don’t believe you when you say you believe in restorative justice, when you openly support removing a major incentive for repeat criminal offenders to mend their ways.

  • Phil
  • October 31st, 2008
  • 5:18 pm


Stephen Franks is an honest man. What part of HONEST do you not understand. You lefties spin yourself silly and do not comprehend the concept of telling the truth. When Stephen Franks says he believes in restorative justice you can take him at his word. He is always telling the truth.


I sometimes wonder if rather than community service or prison -6 strokes of the rotan might not be preferable

  • Kylee
  • November 1st, 2008
  • 2:19 am

Stephen, do you seriously like and endorse he kind of people you are attracting to comment on your site. Oh well, I’m sure you’ll just remove my comment anyway, just like you have been doing with the rest!

  • Tom
  • November 3rd, 2008
  • 8:48 am


I’m going to take that for what it looks like: a brilliant satirical comment.

  • Alex
  • November 3rd, 2008
  • 10:42 am

Smashing up signs is angry and stupid. Always disappointing how little creative and funny graffiti there is at election time.

I don’t think you should bracket ‘graffiti, vandalism and street crime’ together. It’s complicated, as a lot of graffiti these days is sponsored by city councils and other groups, and good graffiti (should, and mostly does) adhere to come kind of code of ethics. I know a few people who make good looking graffiti (like the stuff you see in roper cities) but who would be deeply offended to be mentioned alongside ‘street crime’.

I just think it’s a wee bit important to separate the creativity/urban critique from the more dumb and hateful acts in teh discussion. These sign vandals should be paying it back in some way if they get caught, but people shouldn’t kid themselves that anyone making marks on the street should be hammered by the full force of the law, because in context, it is still extremely petty crime.

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