Scattered brothels 'preferable' to sex hubs

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2014

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An Invercargill city councillor is calling for restrictions on where brothels can set up in the city.

Councillor Lindsay Abbott said if the council could restrict where shops selling psychoactive substances could be in Invercargill, then it should do the same for brothels.

But Invercargill City Council chief executive Richard King said the council had never had a need for such a policy to be put in place.

Abbott said his main concern was that brothels could be set up anywhere.

"My understanding is one can be put right beside a church, a nursing home, a retirement village, even a school."

Abbott said he would like to see the issue considered by the council.

"It's a real concern that it can be set up in a residential area."

However, council leaders did not share his concerns.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said he preferred brothels were based throughout the community, with only a couple of sex workers in each of the premises, rather than having big "concentrated areas" in the city.

"What's happening at present might be the best situation," Shadbolt said.

King said he had never received a complaint about the industry in the town.

That was echoed by Invercargill City Council environmental health manager John Youngson.

While some councils had a policy on where brothels could set up, the city council had not discussed it, he said.

"I know that other councils have looked at this issue but it hasn't been brought to my attention."

He believed there was a "big difference" between selling psychoactive substances and brothels.

While the council did not have a bylaw to control sex workers, it was something that could be looked at, he said.

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