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Disappointment at select committee report

13 September 2006

Disappointment at select committee report on street prostitution Bill

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis is disappointed at the decision by Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Select Committee to recommend that the Manukau City Council (Control of Prostitution) Bill not proceed. The Committee released its recommendation this week.

However the Bill is yet to come back before the House and Sir Barry says he has written to all MPs seeking their support for the Bill, which aims to prohibit street prostitution in Manukau.

“I believe the case put forward by the council is sound, well argued and well supported across the city. The committee has given great consideration to the rights of sex workers, but there appears to be little consideration for the rights of the communities being sullied by street prostitution.

“I do not believe what we are proposing is in conflict with the Bill of Rights or the current prostitution laws.The committee suggests that local legislation is inappropriate because citizens would be subject to conflicting laws depending on their current geographical location. But that is already the case with bylaws that are different from district to district.

“The committee also suggests that the Bill is in conflict with the Prostitution Reform Act, and that this is undesirable from a public policy viewpoint.

“In fact the Bill is in keeping with the spirit and principles of the Act, and seeks to limit only one form of prostitution that is creating particular difficulties. This is a local issue in Manukau involving local communities, and is not likely to create a precedent of any kind.

“The Local Government Act 2002 requires local authorities to address the present and future well being of communities, and this is exactly what we are attempting to achieve. There is great community concern in the areas affected by street prostitution.

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“The initiatives discussed by the committee have all been addressed by the council, which has explored all other avenues available to it to address the problem.

“The council welcomes the fact that the Bill will be referred to the Prostitution Law Review Committee as part of its review of the Prostitution Reform Act.

“However the review will not be completed until mid 2008 and is not intended to specifically address issues associated with street prostitution. Therefore it will not relieve the problem we have in Manukau.

“That is why I have written to all MPs on this important issue requesting their support to have the Bill proceed through the legislative process and become law.”

ENDS

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