Prostitute power sought
Do you think Palmerston North City Council should be permitted to regulate where prostitution can be practised?
If the Auckland Council gets power to regulate where street prostitution can be practised, then the Palmerston North City Council wants a slice of the action.
It is not that Palmerston North has a problem with prostitutes walking the streets. But on principle, it should have the same power to act as any other council if it needs to, said Palmerston North city councillor Bruce Wilson.
The council’s community wellbeing committee this week discussed whether to support making proposed changes to the Prostitution Reform Act applicable to all councils.
Auckland has promoted a bill, because it has community complaints about the activities of street prostitutes, and no power to respond.
Councils currently have no authority to set boundaries around where street prostitution can happen, because it is a legal industry with unrestricted access to any public space.
Auckland wants a law change that would enable it to enact a bylaw controlling where street sex solicitation can and cannot occur.
But the bill before Parliament at the moment would apply to Auckland only.
None of Palmerston North’s councillors spoke about there being a problem with street prostitution in the city. However, Cr Wilson said legislation that applied to only one council was bad legislation.
‘‘I’m in favour of local government having power to do things, rather than specific councils having favours. If we think Auckland should have this power, then so should everybody else.’’
Cr Pat Kelly agreed the issue was about competent local government rather than prostitution.
‘‘We are supportive of local government being able to make that sort of decision from a community point of view.
‘‘That concept is somehow getting lost in current proposals for reform, and we need to balance that.
‘‘Local government is best placed to be deciding what’s in its community’s interests.’’
The committee agreed the council should ask for the bill to apply nationally.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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