Rotorua Lakes Council spends more than $70,000 each year cleaning up after taggers - though one official believes social media may be helping reduce the problem.

The council paid contractors $71,543 for graffiti removal last year, compared to $82,365 the previous year and $71,433 in 2013.

Group manager, strategy and partnerships Jean-Paul Gaston said contractors had responded to 79 instances of graffiti so far this year.

Mr Gaston said there could be additional graffiti removal jobs where expenses had been included in general maintenance budgets or within contracts.


Rotorua police area prevention manager Inspector Stuart Nightingale believed social media could be having an impact on tagging.

"Graffiti, as a crime problem, has nowhere near the visibility it used to have and quite possibly, with the advent of social media, it's reduced people's appetite to scribble on walls because they have other and more effective ways to put themselves out there," he said.

Council public relations manager Mary Anne Gill said the council didn't have specific measures to discourage tagging, apart from locking public toilets at night.

However, it had a strong public art focus, particularly in the inner city.

Ms Gill said the council was unaware of any taggers being caught in the last two years. It worked to remove 95 per cent of graffiti within 24 hours, she said.

Last year, the neighbourhood policing team co-ordinated an initiative to discourage tagging in Western Heights.

Sergeant Steve Sutton, who led the initiative, said police involved local schools and youth with murals to cover up a wall at a shopping complex where tagging and anti-social behaviour had been a problem.

Mr Sutton said the project had great results and the neighbourhood team hoped to run a similar one this year.

"The key is giving people ownership and getting the kids who may be causing the problems to be involved in the solution," he said.

Auckland Council has reduced graffiti through eradication, enforcement and education, and is sharing its secrets with other councils.

Senior adviser graffiti vandalism prevention Rob Shields said four service providers provide graffiti vandalism prevention and removal services to the council.

They included Tag Out Trust, which combatted graffiti through removal, youth education and community volunteer support.