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Prostitution Bill a stalking horse: Baldock

Prostitution Bill a stalking horse: Baldock

Justice Minister Phil Goff let the cat out of the bag today, with his admission that the Resource Management Act won't protect residential communities from the garish neon signs of neighbourhood brothels under the proposed Prostitution Reform Bill.

Answering a question from leading opponent of the Bill, United Future's Larry Baldock, Mr Goff indicated that there would have to be proposals for zoning and licensing - effectively taking the Bill even closer to Victoria's failed prostitution legislation.

"The so-called decriminalisation model is turning into a stalking horse. What we are now talking about is clearly legalisation," Mr Baldock said later today.

Mr Baldock and other MPs opposed to the Bill asked questions in Parliament today based on Mr Goff's admission in the media last week that "the police will tell you that gangs are involved in a big way" in prostitution.

Mr Goff today indicated that further amendments would be required to put in place controls to get criminals out of the industry.

"This begs the question, what's the difference between the Massage Parlours Act we have now and the new bill in its soon to be amended form? If that Act doesn't keep the criminals out, how will this one?" he asked.

"It is obvious that without the support of Phil Goff, the Bill in its original form - which he himself has described as being laissez faire, with no controls - would not survive its Third Reading," Mr Baldock said.

"The arguments put forward by Tim Barnett, the Bill's sponsor, and the Prostitutes Collective, that decriminalisation of prostitutes would produce better working conditions for prostitutes and a healthier society as a whole have diminishing support in the House," he said.

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