Sex-in-city bylaw set to stay

Waikato Times 01 April 2009

Hamilton looks like it’ll keep a tight rein on sex in the city. The city’s prostitution bylaw, which is under review, restricts sex workers to designated areas within the central city. That is likely to remain unchanged despite concerns from the Waikato District Health Board and the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective that the bylaw has pushed the city’s sex industry underground. The controversial 2004 bylaw was put in place after the Prostitution Reform Act was passed by parliament in 2003.

A staff report recommending the bylaw stay in place was approved by the city council’s city development committee meeting yesterday. But the health board’s medical officer of health Dr Dell Hood believed it was defeating the purpose of the Act by forcing sex workers to act illegally outside the designated brothel areas. In her submission she wrote: “I support the council in permitting private sex worker residences to operate anywhere in the city. “I am concerned that bylaws passed by other local authorities prohibiting `small, owner-operated brothels’ from operating in residential areas may prove to drive this sector of the sex industry underground.” Her comments were echoed by the prostitutes’ collective and sex workers.