Bylaw aims to stamp out sexual service signs

The Press 02 April 2009

A proposed bylaw banning brothels across Christchurch from using signage to advertise sexual services is being considered by Christchurch City councillors. However, the wording allowed on the signs may have to be tested in court. Ambiguous signage like “Girls Girls Girls” or “Two girls for $40” could create legal headaches, said Christchurch City Council environmental health principal adviser Terry Moody. The signs do not explicitly advertise commercial sexual services and so if they were banned by the council, the decision may have to be tested in court, he said. “If there was an argument about whether a sign was advertising commercial sexual services that would have to be tested either in court or elsewhere,” he said.

The new bylaw, to be considered by the council regulatory and planning committee today, allows brothels to advertise their name and address on a sign, but not commercial sexual services. Previously, all brothel signage was banned outside a defined area in the city centre, but only signs featuring the name and address of a brothel were allowed within the city centre. The new bylaw would also give the council power to control billboards and signs not attached to brothel buildings. Moody said the bylaw was being introduced as councillors felt “any advertising for sexual services would be offensive to members of the public”.