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Brothel and commercial sex premises bylaw adopted

Auckland City’s brothel and commercial sex premises bylaw adopted

Auckland City’s brothel and commercial sex premises bylaw was adopted at tonight’s council meeting.

The bylaw, which controls the location, signage and licensing of brothels and the location and signage of commercial sex premises in the city, will come into force on Monday, 28 December 2003.

During the special consultative process, Auckland City received 952 submissions to the draft bylaw.

The chairperson of the City Development Committee, Councillor Juliet Yates, says the submissions received were instrumental in providing the council with a greater understanding of the community’s views on this important issue.

“It has not been an easy task for the council, but all the matters raised in the submissions were carefully considered.

“The Prostitution Reform Act was Central Government’s legislation and Auckland City has done its best to minimise harm resulting from this Act. The legalisation of brothels must not cause harm to our children, our families and our communities,” she says.

In the final bylaw, brothels are defined as premises kept or habitually used for the purposes of prostitution. This includes brothels that are operated as small owner-operator businesses.

Commercial sex premises are defined as premises, or part of premises, which are primarily used for the sale of goods or services associated with sexual behaviour. This includes strip clubs, rap parlours, peep shows, lap dancing clubs, escort agencies, adult bookshops, adult video shops, sex shops or other activities of a similar nature. It does not include hospitals, healthcare services, chemists, therapeutic massage or community welfare facilities.

How the bylaw applies to commercial sex premises

The affect of the bylaw is to prohibit the location of commercial sex premises in the suburbs from residential areas or at ground level in suburban shopping streets.

In the Central Business District (CBD), commercial sex premises are banned from ground level in retail streets or within the following precincts – Residential, Tertiary Education, Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, Western Reclamation, Public Open Space and Port. The only exemption to this rule is the block bounded by Customs Street East, Fort Street and Fort Lane.

Within the Hauraki Gulf Islands, commercial sex premises shall not be established within: 250 metres of an education facility or major public transport interchange a site zoned as traditional residential, bush residential or retail land units 20, 21 and 22 on Waiheke or Rakino Islands rural land units one to 10 on Waiheke or Great Barrier Islands or Tryphena, Medlands, Claris and Port Fitzroy on Great Barrier Island.

Signage for commercial sex premises must not be visible from a residential area or display words, images or models which are in the opinion of the council, sexually explicit, lewd or offensive. Existing commercial sex premises have until 1 January 2005 to comply with the new location and signage rules.

How the bylaw applies to brothels

The affect of the bylaw is to restrict brothels to certain areas of the CBD and a handful of industrial areas.

In the suburbs, brothels are banned: from residential areas within 250 metres of a school, pre-school, place of worship, major public transport interchange, community facility and any site zoned residential or within 75 metres of an existing brothel.

In the CBD, brothels are banned: from the following precincts – Residential, Tertiary Education, Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, Western Reclamation, Public Open Space, Port, Transport Corridor and Aotea. at ground level in main shopping streets or within 250 metres of a primary, intermediate or secondary school.

In the Hauraki Gulf Islands, brothels are banned from: any site zoned as traditional residential, bush residential or retail within 250 metres of an educational facility or major public transport interchange land units 20, 21 and 22 on Waiheke or Rakino Islands rural land units one to 10 on Waiheke or Great Barrier Islands or Tryphena, Medlands, Claris or Port Fitzroy on Great Barrier Island.

The bylaw also states that signage for brothels: cannot display words or images, which in the opinion of the council, are sexually explicit, lewd or offensive can identify only the name of the business or the name of the person who runs the brothel is restricted to one per brothel cannot be illuminated by flashing or neon lights cannot be visible from a residential area must not exceed one metre x 0.3 metres in size.

Sandwich board signs are also not allowed.

Existing brothels have until 30 June 2004 to comply with the new location and signage rules.

Mrs Yates says brothels and commercial sex premises affected by the new bylaw may apply for a dispensation, if they can justify that their business is not negatively affecting any person or nearby business. Dispensations will be considered on a case by case basis.

The bylaw and supporting documents can be viewed in all community libraries, Auckland Central Library and on Auckland City’s website www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/bylaw.

The bylaw will be reviewed in 18 months.

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