New Zealand Government Report on the results of Decriminization of Prostitution in 2003
Published May 2008 by the Ministry of Justice

New Zealand is a bit unique since it has decriminalized all sexwork including street hookers.

Some highlights

About 11% of sex work is on the street - no increase since law went into effect.

Mostly very positive on results related to safety, but problems related to the Brothel system etc

There are concerns from communities regarding street work including liter being aggressive but also the anti sexworker folks are a nusiance themselves: "Residents and NZPC outreach workers also report ‘hoons’ throwing eggs at sex workers. In addition, where street workers come into direct contact with late night bar patrons there is often conflict. Abuse and harassment of street-based sex workers by drunken members of the public is common."

Discusses local government attempt to have bylaws prohibiting public solicitation.

Discusses how other countries have addressed the issues.

It is a very comprehensive report and mostly supports the decriminalization of all sexwork including street workers but makes various recommendations to further avoid the negative community effects

Section 11 addresses common misconceptions about prostitution which is supportive of decriminalization.

Extensive report at

It offers some very good talking points that could be used to argue decriminalization in the U.S. especially for private sexwork. I doubt the U.S. public is as willing to accept street workers. In New Zealand as in most of the world outcall has always been legal and brothels were tolerated, now they have to be licensed.


New Zealand Decriminalization Went TOO far!

Neighborhoods are in uproar over street prostitution and brothels in residential areas

Most of the world has a more sensible balance. Outcall totally legal almost everywhere except the U.S., brothels have to be in proper zoning not in residential areas in most countries, and legal status varies from only one gal per flat in the U.K., to huge public brothels in Australia and New Zealand.

Flawed Prostitution Law Ignores Dannevirke Community Concern
From New Zealand -

21 July 2008 - Family First says that the Dannevirke community has felt the full impact of the ideologically flawed decriminalisation of prostitution. "The new law has ridden roughshod over the concerns of local communities, and Dannevirke is powerless to stop a brothel operating in the main street," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. "Once again, the safety and welfare of families and children is being put second to business ventures and male clientele."

"This has been the predicted outcome of the law. Other problems include an increase in street prostitution, brothels operating in residential areas, the association of brothels and prostitutes with drugs, alcohol, and used condoms littering the area, and increased teenage prostitution (involving girls reportedly as young as 11)."

"Despite attempts by the Dannevirke Community (and other local communities in Manukau and Wellington) to gain control over this type of behaviour, politicians continue to block attempts to empower local communities. Laws governing the availability of alcohol and numbers of pokie machines have also ignored the concerns and welfare of local communities and families." Family First is calling on the government to empower local councils to be able to respond to the concerns of families.

"The decriminalisation of prostitution has failed prostitutes by encouraging them to think that prostitution can be safe - which it can never be. But now the law is also failing our communities and families. We must change it before it is too late," says Mr McCoskrie.

Dave notes:
In case your wondering what a pokie machine is - no not what you think sexually ... - Mates, its a New Zealand expression for casino slot machines.

Family First New Zealand is a lobby group that promotes conservative values in New Zealand. While it also is against all prostitution I think it does have a valid point regarding street hookers and brothels in residential areas.

New Zealand Decrim - Possible Example  for Canada & U.S

In my view much of the failure to decriminalize (decrim) private consenting adult sexwork in the U.S. is the street hooker issue.  In Canada its been an obstacle for reforming the bawdy house and agency restrictions. New Zealand maybe has a balanced approach we can learn from and help reform movements in the U.S. and Canada.

New Zealand's public pressure to reverse decrim of street hookers.

New Zealand is used as an example by the decrim advocates of what they want to achieve in Canada and other countries. The decrim zealots want to make street solicitation legal which is a failed concept in almost all of the world where its been tried. Even special zones set up in Europe have mostly resulted in more crime, child trafficking and have been failures.

Yet the decrim zealots want to force the public to accept street hookers rights to be "in the face" of the public, regardless of how upset the public is.

Since private sexwork, with various restrictions for incalls, is already legal in most of the world except the U.S. the decrim issue in most countries centers on public street hookers.


Press Release: Manukau City Council (3rd largest city in New Zealand)
24 November 2005!

Manukau City Council is seeking strong support from all MPs for the successful passage through Parliament of two local bills on prostitution which were introduced to the House on 22 November. The bills will undergo their first reading on 7 December and if successful will be referred to a select committee.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis who has advocated long and hard on both issues says, “I appeal to Manukau residents: if you want change, lobby your local MP on both issues. In September a rally was held at Hunters Corner against prostitution and a petition was signed supporting both bills which has been sent to Parliament.

“You have the power to help bring about change and clean up your environment. Wednesday 7 December is our biggest hurdle to clear. We need to raise awareness of the bills’ importance for our city and gain support of MPs so that they pass their first reading. I, along with Councillors and Council officials, will be continuing to lobby hard to bring about change to improve the quality of life for our residents. “This week I am sending a letter to the Prime Minister, Ministers of the Crown and all Members of Parliament summarising the bills and requesting their support.”

The Local Bill on street prostitution aims to give authorities the powers to prevent street prostitution by prohibiting soliciting in public places in Manukau City. This applies to both street prostitutes and their clients and to nuisance conduct connected with street prostitution. It also provides Police with powers to request information, to issue instant fines of $500, to arrest suspected offenders, and to prosecute offenders in Court that may result in a fine of up to $10,000.

Sir Barry says, “The Bill is part of a multi-pronged approach to limit prostitution to legally established brothels. The Bill does not re-criminalise prostitution in the whole of the City. Prostitution would continue within safe, regulated and lawfully established brothels (outcalls have always been legal of course as in most of the world except the U.S.). Street prostitution is not conducive to any of the aims of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, which aims to safeguard the health and safety of sex workers and limit persons in that industry to those over 18 years of age.”

The Prostitution Reform Act 2003  made ALL adult prostitution and brothels a legal occupation in New Zealand but may have too many restrictions on brothels. 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.

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  after the Reform Act there are still many street hookers which it seems can't be restricted under the Act.

Dave says, this idea could be used for reform laws in Canada (and hopefully some day in the U.S.) Instead of insisting on total decriminalization, realize the overall public view that private consenting adult sex should not be a legal issue, yet public street soliciting is a huge public nuisance issue. Therefore, increase penalties for street solicitation, while providing safe legal alternatives. In addition programs should be expanded to provide drug rehab for street hookers with diversion programs that would eliminate criminal street solicitation convictions. Provide help to the street hooker, who usually is desperate for drug money be a responsible citizen who can choose to work if she chooses in a safe incall or private sexwork as an option. But not stoned and not on the streets

In Canada, abolish the bawdy house law and make incalls subject to the same type of zoning requirements as any other legitimate business. Eliminate the living off the avails and procuring laws that can be used against agencies, but keep them for parasitic pimp type relationships.

Another concern with reforms that include legalization of brothels (vs. decriminalization) is in some countries requirements for legal brothels is too restrictive.  In most of the world private sexwork has always been legal and without any medical testing or in most cases licensing requirements.  There is no evidence that private sexwork has any above average health risks - in fact risk is probably far lower than having sex with a non sexworker. 

The licensing and medical requirements may make some folks feel good but they are totally unneeded for public health issues. Yes include in the law that condoms are required.  That is as far as a law should go.