Council Has Ability to Remove Residential Brothel

Family First NZ says that Waitakere City Council cannot hide behind the Prostitution Reform Act in an attempt to do nothing about a brothel opposite a school in Henderson.

“Councils around the country, including Hamilton, Auckland, Manukau City, Christchurch, and Upper Hutt all have bylaws restricting the location of residential brothels including SOOB’s (single owner operated brothels) from residential areas and sensitive sites such as within 250m of schools and kindys,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Most councils have recognised that prostitution may be offensive to members of the community, and they have all attempted to minimalise its impact by controlling the location of brothels. This has been difficult because of the flawed law passed by politicians, but councils have been determined to act in response to the overwhelming message from families and communities.”

When introducing the provisions to give control of the placement of brothels to local councils, the Minister of Justice, the Hon Phil Goff said: “..I believe that although most New Zealanders would agree that criminalisation of prostitution is futile and probably counterproductive, most would also clearly desire, in the event of decriminalisation, some controls to prevent the establishment of places of prostitution where they are offensive or inappropriate. Most of us would not want to see brothels established in residential areas or adjacent to preschools or schools. My amendment would allow the local territorial authorities, the councils, to prohibit the establishment of, or order the removal of, a brothel in an area where it would cause a nuisance or serious offence to ordinary members of the public. That would not enable territorial authorities to place a general ban on brothels.”

Family First is calling on the Waitakere Council to urgently introduce a strict bylaw controlling the location of brothels, and communicate to central government that their law is creating uncertainty for local councils and exposing them to potential litigation when simply reflecting the wishes of their local ratepayers.

“It is also time that the politicians fixed the obvious flaws in the law,” says Mr McCoskrie. “The claims by local and government politicians that they can’t do anything are false.”

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