Council lacks legal power to stop street prostitutes

Christchurch Press 16 Nov 2011
Ongoing prostitution on residential Manchester St has prompted a Christchurch City councillor to bring about a notice of motion to regulate trading under present bylaws. Cr Aaron Keown has put forward the motion “that the city council actions our enforcement unit to remove or fine any individuals from `trading’ on the street in the area of Manchester St from Bealey Ave to Edgeware Rd”. He has requested it be discussed at the next council meeting on Thursday next week.

But enforcement would mean council staff having to pose as clients and search prostitutes to gather “evidence”, something they do not have the powers to do. Scared to leave their homes after dark, Manchester St residents have called for immediate action. Prostitutes have plied their trade on the northern, residential end of the street since the February 22 earthquake forced them from the CBD.

Resident Giles Goulden said he had “been subject to used condoms, syringes, faeces, and general litter being left on our property”. “We have the incessant noise of cruising vehicles, prostitutes yelling to one another, and the loss of enjoyment of our already earthquake-compromised area by not feeling safe to go out after dark, especially due to the drug dealing.” One resident, who did not wish to be named, had discovered used sanitary items in her mailbox.