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No-names a mockery of 'straight' business claims

Media Statement For immediate release Friday, 16 January, 2004

Copeland: No-names a mockery of 'straight' business claims

Hypocrisy, secrecy and double standards are already showing through as the first licences are being handed out to brothel-keepers under the Prostitution Reform Act, United Future's Gordon Copeland said today.

"The Act's supporters kept telling us that this was about making prostitution just another business. Well if that's the case, why the secrecy about those who are applying for licences?

"If you want to sell alcohol, or if you want to sell cars, your name is on the public record. But apparently if you want to sell women's bodies, you can keep that a nice, cosy little secret," Mr Copeland said.

"And the media seem happy to comply, with first name references only to brothel-owners. I've not really noticed this treatment of other industries on their business pages.

"I don't recall reading about Theresa, who runs Telecom, or Dick who runs a cereal company, or Stephen who runs big red buildings the length and breadth of New Zealand.

"Now if this is just a straight-up business, why the secrecy and the double-standards?

"The answer is pretty simple. The trade in women's bodies can never truly be legitimised, no matter what misguided law is passed - and the secrecy surrounding licences just confirms that," he said.

Mr Copeland raised this issue in Parliament last September, and sought at the time to get the backing of Justice Minister Phil Goff, Police Minister George Hawkins and Local Government Minister Chris Carter for an amendment to the Act allowing public release of the names of brothel-owners.

"And there are serious issues involved here. These names are being kept so hidden that even OSH health and safety inspectors won't know where all the brothels are," he said.


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