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Comments sought on prostitution strategy

1 February 2005

Comments sought on prostitution strategy

Waitakere City’s first public consultation process on the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 begins today.

During the feedback period the Council wants to engage residents, including iwi and the Maori community, migrants and refugees, community groups, local businesses and forums.

Key stakeholders such as the local police, the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, Auckland Regional Public Health Service, the District Court, clients of community sex services, and Community Boards will be invited to comment on the draft policy statement.

The Council is developing a strategy to provide direction and a framework for the local sex industry under the Act.

The Council’s role is to “manage” potential negative impacts of prostitution says Councillor Vanessa Neeson, chair of the Planning and Regulatory Committee.

“It is not the council’s role to get into a debate on the morality of prostitution but we recognise that it’s a sensitive issue. We are very aware of community concerns and this will be reflected through the consultation.

“This is a complex set of issues for urban and residential ratepayers of Waitakere,” she says.

Six options have been provisionally selected for the strategy which applies to all commercial sex activities.

These include:

Control of signage through a bylaw would impose restrictions on content, form and amount. This would prevent signs from being incompatible to the amenity values and character of an area.

Control of environmental effects and potential nuisance is a key concern of Council: A specified distance between brothels is proposed. This can be most effectively achieved through a new City Wide rule in the District Plan to control the location of all commercial sex activities, not just brothels.

Hygiene controls would involve updating the Massage Facilities Bylaw in light of the Prostitution Reform Act. The Council’s environmental health officers currently visit premises every year to ensure that health standards are met.

Non–regulatory options include guidelines on design issues, monitoring the commercial sex industry and contributing to a regional approach.

The closing date for submissions is 5pm, Monday 14 March 2005. A formal consultation process on the strategy will follow in July and August.

ENDS


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