Council looks to bylaw

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Frostbite Tattoo owner/manager Craig Harris at work in his Spey St studio on Tuesday.

TATTOOING, body piercing and beauty therapy industries in Invercargill may soon be overseen by the Invercargill City Council (ICC) as it moves to establish a bylaw to regulate the industry.

ICC environmental health team leader Muriel Rusike said the creation of a bylaw would give the public an assurance there would be no risk of contracting communicable diseases such as Hepatitis B and C, HIV and bacterial skin infections from undertaking such procedures.

“We want to ensure people’s health and safety by setting acceptable standards for operating.”

The rate of infection in Southland had been increasing over the past several years, and the targeted industries were often the source of those infections, she said.

ICC staff had run two workshops with representatives from the industry to discuss the health issues prevalent in the industry and what the best practices were to assist in drafting the bylaw, Ms Rusike said.

“We are relying on the industry for guidelines and best operating practices.”

Council staff sought approval from the regulatory services committee meeting yesterday to develop a draft bylaw, which would require any person or business conducting beauty therapies, tattooing or skin piercing be registered with the council and conduct their activities in accordance with the bylaw.

ICC policy analyst Anna Goble said if approved, a draft bylaw would be created and then council staff would run a further workshop with industry representatives before the proposal was put out for public consultation.

Frostbite Tattoo owner/manager Craig Harris opposed the proposal.

“I don’t want to be told how to do my job by someone who is not in the industry and has no understanding of the industry.”

The bylaw would be difficult to police as many tattooists operated from their homes, he said.

“People who want to break the rules will.

“What’s to stop them going to Kennington or somewhere outside of Invercargill to do it?”

The rules would instead “persecute” those who were already using safe, hygienic practices, he said.

The bylaw would not protect the industry, but would rather be a “revenue gathering” exercise through businesses having to pay a registration fee to the council. It could also potentially deter guest tattoo artists from coming to Invercargill to work unless they were prepared to pay for a licence, Mr Harris said.

Beauty and Beyond Urban Retreat owner Nicole Carter said the industry needed to be regulated.

“I would be happy because I have got [safe practices] in place.”

As a member of the New Zealand Association of Registered Beauty Professionals, Ms Carter said she was required to adhere to a code of conduct, but not all beauty therapists were members of a national body and so were not bound by the same levels of compliance.

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