23 May 2009

The law's on our side - Laws

3:39 pm on 23 May 2009

Wanganui mayor Michael Laws believes that a decision to ban gang insignia anywhere in the city will withstand any legal challenge.

On Friday the city council voted in favour of a citywide ban on such insignia - even though the local MP, who sponsored the enabling legislation, is warning them that the move could be challenged in court.

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows says that when Parliament passed the Prohibition of Gang Insignia Act, it did so with the expectation that bans would cover small areas.

But councillors unanimously backed Mr Laws's proposal to ban gang patches and colours from the entire city and its fringes.

The mayor says that anyone who has studied law knows that the courts always ask what an act of Parliament says, not what Parliament meant by it - and the wording of this act, in his view, empowers the council to declare virtually 99.9% of the district scheme patch-free.

The ban is intended to take effect in July.