Prostitution bill delay a 'good thing'

A bill aimed at controlling street prostitution has stalled in Parliament again but local politicians are hailing the delay as a good thing.

A select committee was due to report back on the Manukau City Council bill - Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places - in December but that has now been deferred until July 1.

It's the second time the report has been delayed after originally being due in July last year.

However, Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairman John McCracken - who along with other local board leaders, has been vocal about the problems caused by street prostitution in South Auckland - is welcoming the delay.

"Put it this way, if they weren't interested in doing something, they wouldn't be deferring it," McCracken said.

New Zealand First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor hopes the delay means a meaningful resolution will be reached on the issue.

"I'm not surprised if the prime minister realises it is a serious enough issue that needs to be explored properly and investigated," she said.
"I'm hoping that they will take what we've raised so far into account."

Lole-Taylor currently sees "huge" numbers of street-based sex workers soliciting outside her office at Hunters Corner in Papatoetoe - often during daylight hours.

Children, families and small businesses all suffer from the effects of street prostitution, including harassment and violence, she said.

"The prostitutes are often quite abusive and some of them are clearly under the influence of drugs."

The bill, which was introduced by the former Manukau City Council and later adopted by Auckland Council, would allow councils to restrict the areas in which prostitutes can operate, among other measures.

The New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective is opposing the bill, saying it makes a scapegoat of street-based sex workers and would leave them more vulnerable to violence.

Manukau Courier