Manukau rejects govt streetworker report

TVNZ May 01, 2009

Manukau City Council says it is “very disappointed” at a government report on its street prostitution problems and wants a law change to make street work illegal. The council, businesses and residents near Hunters Corner, in Papatoetoe, and in Manurewa have had problems associated with street sex workers. They have faced offensive behaviour, abuse, sex in public, and rubbish, including used condoms, syringes, bottles and human waste. The council said the problems have escalated since prostitution was legalised in 2003. This week it unanimously approved the recommendation of its policy and activities committee to seek an amendment to the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 to make street prostitution illegal. But the Ministry of Justice’s Review of Street-based Prostitution in Manukau City, released on Thursday, said localised approaches are likely to be more effective for localised problems. It said eradication of street-based prostitution has not been proved to be achievable and simply banning and moving on could have a negative impact. Measures should also focus on the safety of sex workers.

…And Bob McCoskrie, the national director of Family First NZ described the ministry’s report as “farcical”. It places the onus on the local businesses and residents to provide rubbish bins for condoms and syringes, improve the cleaning of private car parking facilities, and have 24-hour toilets. The report “seems to stumble on the concept of supporting the wishes of the local community and council, and banning street prostitution in these areas”, he said. McCoskrie said the National Party’s position during the legalisation debate was that councils should have the right to control the business of prostitution and keep it off the street if they wanted to. “It’s time that National as government delivered on that pledge and respected the Manukau City Council’s wish that street prostitution be made illegal.”