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Draft brothel and commercial sex premises bylaw

MEDIA RELEASE

26 September 2003

Auckland City's draft brothel and commercial sex premises bylaw approved

Auckland City has approved a draft bylaw to control the location, signage and licensing of brothels and the location and signage of commercial sex premises in the city.

Commercial sex premises are defined as striptease clubs, rap parlours, massage parlours, adult sex shops and activities of a similar nature. Brothels are defined as any premise that is kept or habitually used for the purposes of prostitution.

The bylaw will go out for public consultation with written submissions accepted in October and oral submissions heard in November.

Chairperson of the City Development Committee, Councillor Juliet Yates, says it is important that the public understand the issues. Submission forms will be available on the council's website, in libraries and on the ground floor of the Civic building.

"Submitters should include reasons for their comments, state which sections of the bylaw they support or oppose and whether they wish to make an oral submission at a public hearing."

"When making submissions the public must remember that councils do not have the power to ban brothels entirely," says Mrs Yates.

"There is a high level of community concern about commercial sex premises in residential areas close to where children congregate. The council has received numerous complaints about the location of massage parlours near schools, sex shops in suburban retail areas and offensive signage in the city."

Mrs Yates says the bylaw is the most appropriate way of managing the potential negative affects of the decriminalisation of prostitution. However, it should be strengthened by the use of other strategies, such as good neighbour policies to minimise unwanted environmental social or health affects.

Commercial sex premises

The affect of the draft bylaw is to prohibit the location of commercial sex premises in the suburbs from residential areas or at ground level in main shopping streets.

In the Central Business District (CBD), commercial sex premises are banned from ground level in retail streets or within the following precincts - Residential, Tertiary Education, Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, Western Reclamation, Public Open Space and Port.

Within the Hauraki Gulf Islands, commercial sex premises should not be established within:

- 250 metres of an education facility or major public transport interchange

- a site zoned as traditional residential, bush residential or retail

- land units 20, 21 and 22 on Waiheke or Rakino Islands

- rural land units one to 10 on Waiheke or Great Barrier Islands or

- Tryphena, Medlands, Claris and Port Fitzroy on Great Barrier Island.

Signage for commercial sex premises must not be visible from a residential area or display words, images or models which are in the opinion of the council, sexually explicit, lewd or offensive.

Existing commercial sex premises have until 1 January 2005 to comply with the new location and signage rules.

Brothels

The affect of the draft bylaw is to restrict brothels to certain areas of the CBD and a handful of industrial areas.

In the suburbs, brothels are banned:

- from residential areas

- within 250 metres of a school, pre-school, place of worship, major public transport interchange, community facility and any site zoned residential

- within 75 metres of an existing brothel or

- at ground level in main shopping streets.

In the CBD, brothels are banned:

- from the following precincts - Residential, Tertiary Education, Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, Western Reclamation, Public Open Space, Port, Transport Corridor and Aotea.

- at ground level in main shopping streets or

- within 250 metres of a primary, intermediate or secondary school.

In the Hauraki Gulf Islands, brothels are banned from:

- any site zoned as traditional residential, bush residential or retail

- within 250 metres of an educational facility or major public transport interchange

- land units 20, 21 and 22 on Waiheke or Rakino Islands

- rural land units one to 10 on Waiheke or Great Barrier Islands or

- Tryphena, Medlands, Claris or Port Fitzroy on Great Barrier Island.

The draft bylaw applies to all brothels in Auckland city including small owner-operator brothels with four or less staff.

Brothels must be maintained in a state of good repair and in a clean, tidy and hygienic condition. All brothels must be open to inspection by Auckland City's environmental health officers.

The bylaw also states that signage for brothels:

- cannot display words or images, which in the opinion of the council, are sexually explicit, lewd or offensive

- can identify only the name of the business or the name of the person who runs the brothel

- is restricted to one per brothel

- cannot be illuminated by flashing or neon lights

- cannot be visible from a residential area

- must not exceed one metre x 0.3 metres in size.

Sandwich boards are also not allowed.

Existing brothels have until 30 June 2004 to comply with the new location and signage rules.

Ends


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