Proposed policy for Auckland's commercial sex industry
Auckland Council is developing a consistent, region-wide approach for the management of Auckland's commercial sex industry. We are required to review the policies and bylaws of the seven former councils before 31 October 2015.
Auckland Council is working to develop:
- a commercial sex industry policy
- a review of the inherited brothels and commercial sex premises bylaws
- new rules through bylaws and/or the Unitary Plan if deemed necessary.
Auckland Council will be working on the framework and policy over the next six to 12 months. This will involve opportunities for community input; we expect that the community will have the chance to have their say on the new policy in 2013 when the policy goes out for consultation.
Auckland's commercial sex industry – our role
The council has many roles in managing Auckland's commercial sex industry.
The Commercial Sex Industry Policy will explain our regulatory role, which includes management of the location, operation and appearance of commercial sex industry activities, including:
- adult retail shops
- street-based sex work
- large commercial brothels
- small home-based brothels
- strip clubs.
Other roles are non-regulatory and include working with other agencies, provision of information and advice, and facilitating initiatives that improve the health and safety of Aucklanders.
The non-regulatory roles will also be identified in the Commercial Sex Industry Policy and its accompanying monitoring and evaluation framework, so that we can track our progress towards achieving our objectives.
Prostitution - our role
The Prostitution Reform Act 2003 gives the council the ability to make bylaws regulating the location of brothels and controlling signage advertising commercial sex services.
Some former council bylaws also require that brothels hold licences and impose health and safety conditions.
Another way that prostitution is controlled is through district plans, where brothels are considered a commercial activity or home occupation.
Draft Unitary Plan: Relevant provisions for the Commercial Sex Industry Programme
District plans control the location of commercial sex industry premises through zoning rules, with some additional restrictions in place through bylaws. The draft Unitary Plan proposes that commercial sex industry premises are regulated through zoning rules, to minimise any adverse effects and ensure that the industry operates in a way that preserves the character and amenity of Auckland’s town centres and neighbourhoods.
We are seeking feedback on the draft Unitary Plan, through the Shape Auckland website. The feedback period closes at 5pm on Friday 31 May 2013.
The components of the commercial sex industry that can be regulated by the Unitary Plan include brothels (home occupation and commercial scale), strip clubs, massage parlours and adult retail. While street-based sex work is part of the commercial sex industry, it is not being directly addressed by the Auckland Unitary Plan as it is not associated with a specific site.
Other matters relating to the location, operation and appearance of the commercial sex industry in Auckland are being considered through the review of inherited bylaws.
View definitions specific to the Commercial Sex Industry:
Draft Unitary Plan definitions (PDF 72KB)
Manukau City Council (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) Bill and Supplementary Order Paper
Auckland Council inherited the above Bill from the former Manukau City Council, which in its original form only refers to the district of Manukau City Council.
The Supplementary Order Paper is a way for Auckland Council to request changes to the Bill, which would see:
- a change of title, to reflect that Auckland Council will take over from Manukau City Council as promoter of the Bill
- a change in the definition of "district" to mean the district of the Auckland Council.
If passed, the Act will have an effect across the Auckland region and enable Auckland Council to regulate street-based sex work in specified places, if it is considered necessary and desirable.
Auckland Council sent its Supplementary Order Paper to Parliament's Local Government and Environment Committee in September 2011, requesting the above changes.
The Bill allows the council to make bylaws that would specify areas where street-based sex work may not occur. Sex work would still be permitted to occur in brothels or small owner-operated brothels in these areas.
Auckland Council can't limit street-based sex work to the extent that it is effectively prohibited throughout the region.
The Bill and Supplementary Order Paper can be viewed on the New Zealand Parliament website.