Friday, December 16, 2005


The Local Government and Environment Committee is seeking submissions on the Manukau City Council (Control of Street Prostitution) Bill. 20 copies, by Friday, 24 February 2006, to

Robina Richardson
Local Government and Environment Committee Secretariat
Parliament Buildings

No matter what you think of this bill, if you want to influence its passage through Parliament, you need to speak up about it. It is not difficult to make a submission - the Office of the Clerk has a handy guide here - and I recommend that anyone with strong views on the subject make the effort to be heard. Remember, in a democracy it is participate or perish; if you don't stand up for your views and in consequence get walked all over by someone who does, you have no-one to blame but yourself.


From the Wikipedia article on the John Seigenthaler biography controversy:

Since many people read Seigenthaler's op-ed, and few people responded to the original article, some Citation needed Wikipedia contributors (known as Wikipedians) questioned his reluctance to simply correct the page.

Seigenthaler responded to this in an interview on NPR (National Public Radio). He said that he did not want to have anything to do with Wikipedia because he disapproved of its basic assumptions.

"In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place."
-- Mahatma Gandi

By voting or otherwise swaying opinion by sheer numbers alone on moral decisions you are tacitly endorsing the practice of majority rule. I would quite strongly consider this to fall within that category. However participating in debate if the numbers do not add strength to the argument is not so bad.

Anyway, that hypothetical and ideological rant aside - I see that they're not making it illegal to run a brothel, only to sell your ass on the street ... what is the issue with that? Well, other than being an unnecessary piece of legislation?

Posted by Anonymous : 12/16/2005 09:09:00 AM

Sam: It's not an endorsement - it's a weapon. Democracy (or any other form of settled government) doesn't end the Hobbesean war of all against all; it simply moves it to a different battlefield where far fewer people get hurt. But there's still a struggle between people's interests, which can only be settled by arguing about it. And if you're not part of that argument, your interests will not be taken into account.

As for the bill itself, the Manukau City Council has already effectively banned brothels by regulating them out of existence - hence their sudden problem with streetwalkers. This is an attempt at effective recriminalisation. There are also significant concerns about the draconian penalties for soliciting (50 times higher than when prostitution was illegal), and the bill has been found by the Attorney-General to violate the Bill of Rights Act.

City Councils have a right to regulate commerce (including commerce in sex) through bylaws - but this is going just a little too far...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/16/2005 10:41:00 AM

It's the $10 000 fine that bothers me. I have never been in favor of legalized prostitution, and I think the issues in Manukau show why street prostitutes cause problems.

However, it is legal to sell sex, and if there were easily rentable, cheap rooms in the center city that girls could access for their work (along with free condoms and health/safety advice) then the problem would be vastly improved.

It would also provide a point where clients and prostitutes could be pointed to any sexual health services they needed, and it would be far safer than some car somewhere on a back road.

Once the genie is out of the bottle you can't try to shove it back in like this.

Posted by Muerk : 12/16/2005 12:21:00 PM

Now here's a dilemma. The opponents of decriminalised sex work also oppose transgender protection under antidiscrimination laws, yet the latter would mean that unskilled trans folk would have other work options apart from sex work...

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/17/2005 10:49:00 AM

People should be able to be free from discrimination in their employment. You don't have to agree with someone's point of view for them to be a good employee.

Posted by Muerk : 12/17/2005 02:00:00 PM