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New Zealand Fully Decriminalized in 2003 but Street Hookers a Problem

Also See 8/05 High Court quashes prostitution by-law since too restrictive on incalls

New Zealand Attempt to Repeal the Decriminalization of Prostitution Fails

The Street Hooker Problem is the major issue as well as where to locate legal brothels

In New Zealand, like Canada and most of the rest of the world except the U.S. outcall prostitution has always been legal, In 2003 by a 1 vote margin the legislature passed The Prostitution Reform Act 2003 which made ALL adult prostitution and brothels a legal occupation in New Zealand. In fact the government has online their "Brothel Operator Certificates." There are reasonable health and safety requirements such as using condoms, local bylaws can restrict signage and brothel locations, and a provision to outlaw pimping. The entire Act is at

The Accident Compensation Corporation (like our Workers Compensation) says," Both prostitutes and brothels will come under the ACC classification for "personal services not elsewhere classified" which is the category that also covers massage parlours. This classification falls within the broader Levy Risk Group 690, Personal and Other Services – Medium Risk Group. In 2003/04, sex worker employers will be required to pay a 56 cents levy per $100 of liable earnings to cover income replacement while injured, while those who are self-employed will pay 57 cents. In addition, workers will pay 38 cents per $100 of liable earnings up to $15,000 to cover medical and rehabilitation costs. There will also be a 5 cent Health & Safety in Employment Act levy and a 39 cent levy to cover the cost of long-term claims to ACC dating from before 30 June 1999.

ACC will cover the normal range of injuries, as it does already. Cover is unlikely to be available for sex workers who become pregnant in the course of their employment as this would not be considered a personal injury under the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001. But it may be available for a sexually transmitted infection if the tests are met that are set out in Section 30 IPRC Act 2001 for work-related gradual process, disease or infection."

However there is great concern that it also decriminalized street hookers and the legal situation is unclear. Section 14 of the Act allows local governments to make bylaws "regulating the location of brothels of any scale, but not extending to other businesses of prostitution." It was hoped that by making brothels legal women would choose to work from their own homes (as allowed as home business in zoning rules) and get off the streets. But now a year after the Reform Act there are still many street hookers which it seems can't be restricted under the Act.

Street Prostitution including child increases dramatically on streets

Manukau City Council is calling for a law change to help stamp out street prostitution in south Auckland. The council claims legislation introduced a year ago decriminalising the sex industry has had a dramatic impact in south Auckland - with teenagers, some as young as 13 and 14, prostituting themselves.

It wants an urgent amendment to the new act prohibiting sex workers from plying their trade on the streets. Under the new legislation it is no longer illegal for anyone to solicit for sex in a public place, so long as that person is over the age of 18. Councils have been given certain licensing powers to control the sex industry, but legal opinion suggests they have no control over what happens on the streets.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis has already discussed the problem of street prostitution in south Auckland with Police Minister George Hawkins. He wants the Government to hand councils the power to ban street sex workers. Councillor Noel Burnside said the legislation was encouraging school children to take to the streets. In Papatoetoe, Manurewa, Otahuhu, Panmure and Otara, the problem of street prostitution was rife and the new law was doing little to discourage it. "I thought prostitution would be confined to brothels under this new legislation. What we have now is a sad indictment on our society," Mr Burnside said. "All we want to do as a council is clean up the streets."

Mr Burnside said the council was also looking across the Tasman at how Queensland had tackled the issue of street sex workers. Prostitution was legal there, but not on the streets. "This is all we want here, some sort of law change that helps us deal with this problem."

Prostitution Reform Petition Falls Short

An anti-prostitution group sponsored a reform petition to repeal ALL of the Prostitution Reform Act but only gathered 200,000 of the 273,000 signatures needed but they vow to continue the fight to repeal all of the Reform Act.

The obvious reasonable solution seems to be simply try and change the Reform Act to allow local cities to regulate where street hookers can operate just like they can reasonably regulate brothels...or repeal the Act only in regard to street hookers and keep all other parts of the Reform Act.