You're not welcome in Wanganui
The WDC met yesterday, and as the Herald reports, a new by-law is to be drafted - read on:
Whanganui District Council says it will create a new gang patch bylaw after its previous effort was deemed to be illegal.
Following lawyers' advice last week, councillors today voted to start the process required to make a new bylaw to ban gang insignia from being displayed in parts of the district and to seek central government legislation banning gang insignia, Mayor Annette Main said.
The new bylaw would address the issues raised in this month's High Court decision and the council hoped it would be in place by September, she said.
"There is clear support from councillors, the police and the Whanganui public that the gang insignia bylaw is a positive step forward in anti-gang legislation. It sends an important message to our community that we are committed to being a place that doesn't tolerate intimidation by gang members."
We wholeheartedly agree with the decision reached by the WDC yesterday. Appealing Justice Clifford's decision would have been a lengthy and expensive process, with no guarantee of success. Justice Clifford's decision affirmed the council's right to have an anti-gang insignia by-law; he merely found that it had been applied too liberally.
As we have mentioned before, the streets of Wanganui have been far more pleasant since the by-law was enacted. We are delighted that the new Annette Main-led council is taking a similar attitude to the council led by former mayor Michael Laws. Ms Main has wisely listened to her constituents, and even if the idea of banning gang patches grates with her on a personal level, she has taken a pragmatic approach for the public good. We congratulate her for that.
The Hell's Angels may have won the first battle. We have no doubt whatsoever that the will of the people of Wanganui will win the war however. Gangs have no place in a civilised society, and if banning patches is a first step towards eliminating gangs, bring it on.