Brothels businesses like any other: submitter

A Wanaka submitter opposed to the Queenstown Lakes District Council draft brothel bylaw says brothels are legal businesses like any other and regulating them differently is an unfair bias.

"Business areas are for people who chose to sell things and advertise their businesses to passersby ...

" ... replacing one unfair and biased bylaw with another is not the the mark of a resilient and forward-thinking community," Wanaka property owner Maree Horlor said.

The modified bylaw was recommended for Queenstown and Wanaka because the current bylaw could breach the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, which legalised commercial sex.

Of the 44 submissions received by yesterday, 40 were against, two were neutral and two supported the proposed bylaw amendment.

Submissions close on Monday at 5pm.

The existing bylaw bans brothels within 100m of homes, schools, preschools, churches, community facilities or reserves and is opposed by conservative lobby group Family First NZ - with many submissions echoing the lobby's submission, sometimes word for word.

When asked if an organised lobby had been targeted on the draft bylaw, Family First national director Bob McCroskie said the group did not use the "default setting" of rallying lobbyists on single issues.

"We've made our concerns known and said to families make sure you have your say - some of them will have piggybacked on our submission simply because they're in agreement with it."

QLDC should "man up and challenge it in the same way Hamilton did" and dictate where brothels can be established rather than zoning them "smack bang in the middle of family shopping and tourist areas".

Earlier this month, council regulatory manager Roger Taylor told the Otago Daily Times the issue for council was purely about signs and location.

"Any social issues - benefits or otherwise - are not something we get to consider. Central government did that with the Prostitution Reform Act," he said.

Mr McCroskie said the Act was "inconsistent" and rejected what he said were council claims they could not legally stop brothels, saying there was a moral element to the business of brothels.

"There's a stigma - it's a healthy stigma - families don't want the normalisation of this industry," he said.

Meanwhile, opposed submitter Vicki Keast, of Queenstown, addressed the issue of signs:"... if the registered business name is `Hot sex for sale' ... then they will be able to put this up," she said.

Another submitter said Queenstown was "already known as the drug capital of the South Island. Why should residents further put up with brothels on the streets?"

Allan Lemm, of Queenstown, said the resort was the "jewel in tourism", and any suggestion "opposing brothels infringes on human rights is bizarre".


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