Law change call after court throws out boob challenge

Last updated 08:49 20/08/2008

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A legal bid by Auckland District Council to keep naked breasts off Queen Street failed yesterday and now conservative lobby group Family First is calling for a law change.

Judge Nicola Mathers threw out the council's attempt to gain an injunction to stop the Boobs on Bikes parade.

She said it was debatable whether a new bylaw allowing the council to ban offensive parades was legal, and also questioned whether the event met the legal threshold of offensiveness.

Family First New Zealand director Bob McCoskrie today called for the Government to amend the Summary Offences Act and the Crimes Act to make topless parades illegal.

"It's time the law started protecting and putting the welfare of children and families first," Mr McCoskrie said.

"The current law is far too liberal and vague and needs to be amended."

He said there was concern over the inconsistency of the law with police stopping three women parading topless through Hamilton on Monday, but sanctioning up to 30 to do the same thing in Auckland today.

Parade organiser Steve Crow told Radio New Zealand as well as promoting the R18 Erotica Expo, the parade raised Bill of Rights issues.

"It is topless people, men and women, in a public place, which is perfectly legal under our Bill of Rights and under New Zealand law.

"Mr McCoskrie keeps harping on that it is pornography. They are breasts, they're not a big deal."

He said there were now plans to hold a similar parade in Wellington on November 7 ahead of the capital's own Erotica Expo.

Mr McCoskrie said the court's ruling showed the law was out of step with the rights of families.

"(It) effectively means any topless parade can be held at any time on any street. Yet this attitude goes against prevailing community standards demonstrated by the fact that we would not allow topless teachers, office workers or McDonald's staff."

National Party leader John Key weighed in this morning after being asked his opinion on TV One's Breakfast programme.

"Tacky actually. I think we actually give this guy way too much media airtime for promoting something that is, well he's got a pretty cynical view: get as much media attention as you can.

"It's not exactly the Brazilian carnival is it? It's pretty tacky."

An estimated 100,000 people watched the parade last year, making it arguably the second biggest single day event in Auckland behind the Pasifika Festival.

- NZPA

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