Kiwi town centres to have red-light zones?

Wellington, Oct 6 (ANI): Town centres in New Zealand could have red-light zones if the district council passes a draft brothel bylaw.

Councillors at a full Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting will be asked to ratify a draft brothel control bylaw, which would pave the way for red-light zones in central business districts.

The proposed sex zone in Queenstown would be bounded by Earl St, Camp St, Shotover St and the lakefront from Rees St to Marine Pde, while Wanaka's zone would permit brothels in an area bounded by Dungarvon St, Ardmore St and Dunmore St to the Lake Wanaka centre.

The proposed change follows a council review of an existing bylaw banning brothels in the district, because that legislation could be "repugnant to the intention" of the Prostitution Reform Act, which decriminalised commercialised sex in 2003.

New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said there was probably an expectation from tourists that sex was for sale in Queenstown.

"That could be a novelty for them in a setting that's decriminalised," the Southland Times quoted her as saying.

She said most brothels in New Zealand did not advertise with neon street signs but with Queenstown's tourist atmosphere "they might want something a bit more lively".

But there could be a lot of resistance, and brothel operators would probably not want to open premises if that was the case.

Queenstown Mayor Clive Geddes said brothel keeping was a vexed and highly emotive issue, and that residents should study the proposed bylaw and lodge submissions during a public consultation.

Queenstown Salvation Army auxiliary captain Kenneth Walker said the resort was close-knit and he was against licensed sex premises, and that the council should oppose the draft bylaw, even if it meant a legal challenge.

"The (existing) bylaw is pretty tough and it does stop that kind of activity and that's fine and dandy," he stated.

Acting Sergeant Blair Duffy, of Queenstown, said a previous brothel was associated with drug-related and dishonesty offending.

General manager of regulatory and corporate services Roger Taylor's report says the bylaw would restrict brothels to above ground-floor premises.

"A bylaw is the most appropriate way of controlling the location of brothels within the district," the report stated.

If the council does not accept the recommended changes, the authority could be at risk of an expensive judicial review. (ANI)

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