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Submission Guide: Manukau City Council Regulation of Prostitution Bill

Jan Logie MP
Jan Logie MP
jan [dot] logie [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
Contact: Jan Logie MP

The date for sending in a submission on this issue has passed.

The public submission process has been re-opened for the Manukau City Council (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) Bill. Below you will find information on the bill and how to submit.

Submissions must be received by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee by 5:00pm on Wednesday 29 February 2012.


Background

The Manukau City Council (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) Bill, as introduced, proposes to make bylaws prohibiting the business of prostitution or commercial sexual services in specified public places in Manukau City.

However, because of the amalgamation of the Manukau City Council and other separate Auckland councils in 2010, the new Auckland Council have submitted their intention to take over from the Manukau City Council as the promoter of this bill. This means that the Auckland Council would be empowered to make bylaws that would apply to all of the new Auckland Council area.

Because of these potential changes to the geographic area of this bill, the Select Committee have reopened the process for public submissions.

The Green Party opposed this legislation at its first reading and will continue to oppose this bill if it is extended to apply to the greater Auckland region.

We urge you to have your say and make a submission.

Key points to include in your submission

This Bill is contrary to section 3 of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 in that it seeks to regulate street based sex work through a bylaw that would make street based sex work an offence in specified places. By doing so, it contravenes all of the benefits of the Prostitution Reform Act for street based sex workers by placing their human rights, occupational safety and health at risk. It also leaves them open to exploitation.

Our main areas of concern are that:

  • it attacks the most vulnerable in society - street based sex workers are the most at risk sex workers, but are also vulnerable members of society for reasons other than their involvment in sex work. It would affect Maori, Pacific Islanders and those in the lower socio-economic bracket more than others
  • it runs the risk of driving street prostitution underground, making it harder for support services to access and help sex workers
  • it puts the safety and health of street based sex workers at risk - the bill would allow police to use the presence of condoms and other safe sex materials to gain conviction, but it is vitally important that street based sex workers be encouraged to carry condoms
  • it means that street based sex workers will be less likely to report violence against them to police because making a complaint may leave them open to fines
  • it sets a dangerous precedent by empowering a local council to effectively create their own criminal law - this would criminalise behaviour in one geographical area that exists throughout New Zealand
  • it breaches the aims of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 by making street based sex work an offence and imposes fines that are 10 times higher than the penalties prior to the reform (up to $2,000 compared with $200)
  • any changes do not actually work towards solving the identified problems, for example, police in Manukau noted that bar patrons were just as likely to cause problems as street-based sex workers

Other important areas to note:

- the bill allows arrest without warrant on the suspicion of doing something and empowers police to stop any vehicle that a suspected street based sex worker is in

- the bill makes it an offence to be a client of a street based sex worker, which puts street based sex workers at risk because it would reduce the time for the worker to assess the client

- previous attempts to introduce similar legislation have failed - a similar bill that was introduced in 2005 was disposed of because parliament agreed that making legislation contrary to other legislation for a specific area was inconsistent and that other laws already existed that dealt with the perceived problems

- the Manukau City Council have failed to adopt any of the recommendations from the previous Select Committee report, which encouraged investing in initiatives that have proven successful elsewhere (such as providing better facilities and improved lighting)

- the previous version of this bill was found to be inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990

How to have your say

You can have your say on the Bill by sending in a submission, which must be received by the Local Government and Environment Committee by 5:00pm Wednesday 29 February 2012.

Please mail two printed copies to:

Committee Secretary
Local Government and Environment Select Committee
Parliament House
Wellington

Or email it to Catherine [dot] Corser [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz and select [dot] committee [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz.

The submission can be as short or long as you like. Be clear and concise. If long, include a summary at the beginning, number the paragraphs, and attach any supporting evidence as appendices. For more information on Parliamentary submissions, click here.

Submission format

Give your name, address, phone number and email address.

You are able to state that you wish to appear before the select committee and speak to your submission - you can always decline later. In you are not in Wellington ask to be heard in a city near you or by video link.

Indicate who you are (e.g. individual, community group member, business owner, etc.)

If you represent a group, outline its purpose and how many members it has.

Clearly state your concerns about the Bill and the changes you want made.

Background documents to help with your submission

- Ministry of Justice report on street-based Prostitution in Manukau City
- Human Rights Commission submission on this bill

- New Zealand Police's submission on this bill
- Local Government & Environment Committee report on the previous bill
- Prostitution Law Review Committee report on the Prostitution Reform Act
- Christchurch School of Medicine Research on the impact of the Prostitution Reform Act

Good luck with your submission!

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