Prostitution ban Bill passes first reading

A Bill allowing Manukau City Council to ban street prostitution passed its first reading in Parliament tonight and has been sent to a select committee for public submissions.

The Bill was drafted by the council and presented by Labour's Manurewa MP George Hawkins, but the timing of its introduction to Parliament isn't good - the council will cease to exist on November 1 and the legislation won't be passed by then.

It will be up to Auckland's new Super City Council to decide whether it wants to pick up the Bill.

It allows the council to ban street prostitution in specified places in the city and gives police powers of arrest.

Mr Hawkins told Parliament Manukau was plagued by street prostitution and it was having a huge impact on the community.

"When shopkeepers have to clean up used condoms, vomit and urine from their shop fronts people get very upset," he said.

"When kids on their way to school see that and walk through it, people get very annoyed."

Mr Hawkins said that after the Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003 many sex workers found jobs in brothels.

"But we have a certain class of people who really make life for others so bad," he said.

"Manukau City Council has done all the things it can - better street lighting, CCTV cameras, Maori wardens. But this needs a forceful answer."

Mr Hawkins said the city had many social problems, including alcohol abuse, but street prostitution was the one that annoyed people the most.

Most MPs who spoke during the debate supported the bill's intention although some were worried about passing piecemeal legislation that would make one part of Auckland different to the rest of it.

Mr Hawkins asked for a personal vote to be taken and the count was 82-36 in his favour.

The Bill has been sent to the local government select committee.




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