Battle for control of street sex trade

Three South Auckland local government politicians have launched another assault in a long running battle to control street prostitution in their area.

They claim street prostitution is operating as the freest form of commercial trading in the country and as a result the number of prostitutes has increased "and their behaviour has become more outrageous".

The chairs of the Otara-Papatoetoe local board - John McCracken, Leau Peter Skelton, and Angela Dalton have sent a joint letter to mayors and CEOs of local and regional authorities asking them to support a bill before parliament aimed at giving councils more power to control street prostitution.

It follows a booklet - published in July by local boards in the city with support of Auckland Council - on the issue which sparked complaints of discrimination to the Human Rights Commission.

"While we do hope your council is never required to deal with the issues of a totally unruly street sex trade, we write to remind you that as it stands you will have little effective legal authority to address this industry if it becomes established," the letter reads.

The bill is languishing in parliament and without it the chairpersons say there is no meaningful way to control street workers.

"This situation was allowed to occur based on a judgement that street prostitution would naturally move indoors once prostitution was legalised. Not only has that proved to be incorrect, but we have found that the numbers have increased and their behaviour has become more outrageous."

The three claim the bill is fair and reasonable.

"It affects both street workers and customers, has penalties similar to other minor disorder offences and does not seek to ban street prostitution across Auckland.

"Despite (Parliament's) inaction to date, we believe a loud and united voice from the local government sector will be invaluable in sending a message to Parliament that local concerns must be taken seriously."

Auckland Now