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Council seeks comment on prostitution issues

7 October 2003

This week, members of the public will have their first chance to comment on prostitution issues being considered by the Christchurch City Council, since the passing of the Prostitution Reform Act.

A questionnaire to gather public feedback on the issues will appear first in the Council’s monthly publication, City Scene which will be distributed to Christchurch households this week.. The questionnaire will also be published in the Press on Saturday 11 October and the Christchurch Star on Wednesday 15 October.

When the Prostitution Reform Act came into being on 28 June a number of activities became lawful that were previously unlawful including keeping a brothel; living on the earnings of prostitution; procuring a person for prostitution; and soliciting for the purposes of prostitution. Councils were given two new powers to regulate the location of brothels and advertising of sexual services.

The questionnaire is designed to gather public comment on whether the Council needs to use these new powers.

As part of its information gathering process, the Council’s Prostitution Reform Act Subcommittee has learned about the industry in Christchurch by talking to the Police, Community and Public Health workers, prostitutes and owners of prostitution businesses.

“Before the Council can make any decisions, we need to be very aware of all the issues and public feeling,” the Council’s Regulatory and Consents Committee chairperson Councillor Sue Wells says. “But it is important that before people fill in their questionnaire, they understand it is not about banning prostitution or brothels. We don’t have the powers to do that, only to limit where brothels can go and what signage and advertising they can have. We have focused the questionnaire on the things we have the power to control.”

Feedback on the questionnaire can be made by cutting out the form in the newspapers or by submitting answers on the website by 5pm, Thursday 13 November.

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