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Council Considering Prostitution Controls

Media release
24 September 2003

Council Considering Prostitution Controls

Manukau City Council is currently determining its position on where brothels may be located in the city.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says there will be public consultation on the matter once a draft policy is drawn up and he is urging people to let their views be known to the Council once the policy is released.

Parliament recently passed legislation to decriminalise prostitution. The new law enables councils to manage provision of brothels in their area through bylaws and/or make changes to their District Plans. The bylaw provision of the Prostitution Reform Act allows the Council to address brothel location and associated signage.

Sir Barry says key stakeholders are being consulted and the issue will be considered by the Environmental Management committee soon, in order to decide on the Council’s position. There will be public consultation on the proposed bylaw/s and any necessary changes to the District Plan, depending on the approach taken.

Under the new law any venue where five sex workers are employed constitutes a brothel and will have to obtain a license from the District Court. Regardless of whether the brothel has a licence they are still required to comply with the provisions of the District Plan and any relevant bylaw.

Sir Barry believes they should not be allowed in residential areas, and be restricted to commercial or industrial areas. The 12 brothels that are operating currently in the city are all located in these areas.

“However I am advised that there are already dozens of home-based brothels operating in Manukau presently in residential areas.

“Having a brothel in a residential area is incompatible with a family environment. While I have strong views on this issue, I am only one voice.

“There have been calls from our community boards for brothels to be banned altogether but regretfully that is not possible under the law. Prostitution has been decriminalised and it is our responsibility now to regulate and control it properly.

“Manukau City Council will be consulting with other councils because there needs to be consistency in regulation across the region. Otherwise, astute brothel owners will set up brothels in areas with weakest controls. We certainly do not want that to take place in Manukau,” Sir Barry said.


Ends

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