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Prostitution Bill amendments target criminals

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Media Statement

27 March 2003

Prostitution Bill amendments target criminals,
help local authorities

Justice Minister Phil Goff today tabled amendments to the Prostitution Reform Bill giving police power to prevent criminals from running sex businesses, and assisting local authorities to control where brothels are established.

Mr Goff's amendments ban people convicted of serious or gang-related offences from operating places of prostitution such as brothels and escort agencies.

"It is clearly inappropriate for people with serious criminal convictions to have control over sex workers and involvement in the sex industry," Mr Goff said.

"It is these facets of the sex industry as it currently operates in New Zealand that are particularly undesirable. It makes it more likely that women and girls will be subjected to coercion and exploitation.

"People convicted of serious sexual, violent, drugs, arms, money laundering or gang-related offences have to be kept out of the industry and the amendments give the police the power to do this.

"I doubt anyone would believe that someone with a conviction for rape, violence or drug trafficking should lawfully be able to manage a brothel."

Mr Goff's amendments would also give local territorial authorities the power to make bylaws preventing brothels being established in certain areas.

"My amendment would allow local authorities to pass bylaws to exclude brothels from localities where it is clearly inappropriate for them be located, such as residential areas.

"The test for the bylaw is whether brothels in the specified areas would cause a nuisance or serious offence to ordinary members of the public using the areas, or whether the brothels would be incompatible with the existing character or use of the areas.

"Most of us would not want to see brothels established in residential areas or adjacent to preschools or schools but there are commercial areas where the establishment of brothels would not cause local offence.

"However it will be up to each authority and their local communities to make those decisions.

"All bylaws would expire two years after commencement as the measure is intended as an interim measure to cover the period necessary for local authorities to amend their district plan to restrict the location of places of prostitution," Mr Goff said.

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz

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