A judge's refusal to stop today's Auckland Boobs on Bikes parade will probably lead to more topless parades with a Wellington version already planned, porn king Steve Crow says.
In a judgment released yesterday Auckland District Court Judge Nicola Mathers rejected an Auckland City Council bid to get an interim injunction preventing the Queen St parade, due to start at 12:45pm today, weather permitting.
The judge said that though opponents may find the parade offensive or tasteless, the fact that 80,000 people attended meant a significant number did not agree.
After the ruling, Mr Crow accused the council of "running roughshod" over the rights of organisers and spectators by trying to stop the event, now in its sixth year.
"They're breasts," Mr Crow said. "And New Zealand law says that women can have their breasts out in public or be bare-chested just like a man."
Mr Crow confirmed plans for a topless bike parade through Wellington on November 7 in the lead-up to the capital's first Erotica Lifestyles Expo.
Wellington City Council had not yet been asked for consent, but the parade would go ahead regardless and would feature a topless Prime Minister Helen Clark look-alike, Mr Crow said. "The ruling supports this, it is a legal event."
At least one more parade is planned, in Christchurch next year. Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said she was not aware of any "plans to turn the arts and culture capital into the boobs capital of New Zealand". The mayor's spokeswoman also said the parade was not in keeping with the city's reputation for arts and culture.
Councillors Stephanie Cook and Celia Wade-Brown agreed. "I don't really see it as a Wellington-type event," Ms Cook said.
Ms Wade-Brown said she was no prude but believed the parade was offensive to women and the capital's diverse ethnic groups. "It's a bit of a display that says a man's life is about motors and boobs."
The Auckland parade had been refused a permit from the council, but only bad weather would stop it going ahead, Mr Crow said.
About 30 women are expected to ride topless today, including a married Christchurch woman who was parading with her husband's blessing, Mr Crow said.
Auckland Mayor John Banks said the council had received about 1000 e-mails and 150 submissions opposing the event. Councillor Cathy Casey - who initiated the court bid - was threatening to lie in the parade's path to stop riders.
Police said yesterday they had no power of arrest for bylaw breaches, which is what parade organisers could be accused of.
Mr Crow has threatened to take a private prosecution against Ms Casey if she blocks the bikers.
- The Dominion Post