Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Return of the bill of the living dead III

Over ten years ago, Parliament decriminalised prostitution. It was a bold step forward, which ensured that prostitutes could work safely and were protected by the law, rather than existing in a legal twilight zone where they could be abused with impunity by pimps and police. But the Christians weren't happy, and tried to re-criminalise prostitution (with far more draconian penalties) via a local bill. That failed. So they tried again. After four years in front of a select committee, which roundly rejected their "evidence" that the "harm" of street prostitution could only be managed by banning it, that failed too. The only party in support of it? New Zealand First.

But being voted down twice hasn't deterred them, so they're back for another go. This time they are at least being honest about their intentions - rather than being framed as a local measure to allow a council to deal with an environmental nuisance, they're outright trying to ban street prostitution entirely. Doing so will of course force street workers back into that legal twilight zone and expose them to abuse - but NZ First doesn't seem to care about that, any more than they did in 2003, 2006, or 2015. Prostitution wasn't allowed 50 years ago when their supporters were young, so it shouldn't be allowed now. And if women are the casualties, well, NZ First has never cared about them anyway.