Street prostitution move

20:11, Mar 05 2012

The option of moving prostitutes on from south Auckland hotspots like Papatoetoe and Manurewa shifted a step closer last week.

Parliament voted 105-15 to send the Manukau City Council (Control of Street Prostitution) Bill to a select committee, which will consider submissions on the issue.

The bill would enable prostitutes to be moved out of residential areas.

Street prostitution is a legal activity.

Stories of people disturbed by the noise and drinking associated with prostitution, along with threats of violence, have been reported to the Manukau Courier.

Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairman John McCracken says MPs are finally listening to residents' concerns.

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"It's not trying to have a blanket ban across Auckland.

"All we're trying to do is protect those areas' residents and businesses where they are causing such a huge problem in the community."

Moving prostitutes to commercial areas would cause less disruption for residents, he says.

"They're such a transient group, you might have success with one or two but others come and take their place and you're back to square one."

Manurewa Local Board chairman Daniel Newman says he supports the bill but a more brave response would be to amend the Prostitution Reform Act, outlawing street prostitution altogether.

"Such a move would apply to every community in New Zealand, not just Northcrest and Hunters Corner."

Other measures also need to be put in place to complement any legislation passed, including help with health, housing and welfare, Mr Newman says.

Prostitutes Collective Auckland manager Annah Pickering told the Manukau Courier last month street-based prostitution stems from bylaws preventing them from working from home.

She says south Auckland communities need to work together to solve problems that arise from prostitution.

Manukau East Labour MP Ross Robertson has welcomed the move to the select committee and says he sees the issue as a planning one.

"I want it made clear that councils can enact bylaws to specify areas where street prostitution is not allowed," he says.

"The original bill, designed to allow the council to make bylaws prohibiting the business of prostitution or commercial sexual services in specified public places in Manukau city, has been with the select committee since September 2010, during which time the Manukau City Council has been taken over by the Auckland Council.

"It was necessary for a supplementary order paper to be presented, changing the promoter of the bill. A number of submissions have been received, and the committee will consider them, along with the supplementary order paper."

The select committee is due to report to the House by July 31.

Manukau Courier