Our prostitution bylaw allows brothels to operate in Tauranga, while minimising any potential offense from the signage and advertising of commercial sex premises. It also gives Council the ability to set necessary restrictions and regulate prostitution in our city, including the power to issue fines.
Our bylaw is now 10 years old, so it is time for us to review it. We are proposing some changes to the current rules, as listed below. This formal consultation is an opportunity to have your say before the changes become law.
Have your say by 5pm on Friday, 1 March 2019
Draft Prostitution Bylaw 2019 (1mb pdf) Statement of proposal (47kb pdf)
This is a formal consultation. Hearing of submissions will take place on Tuesday, 26 March 2019. We’ll use your feedback to propose a final revised bylaw for adoption by Council later this year.
If you have any questions please contact the Strategic Policy and Planning team on 07 577 7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Prostitution was decriminalised in New Zealand through the passing of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. Council is not able to prohibit prostitution in Tauranga.
Proposed changes to the bylaw, and why we want to make them
Proposed rule: Include a reference to the definition of small owner-operated brothels in the Act:
Means a brothel –
(a) at which not more than four sex workers work, and
(b) where each of those sex workers retains control over his or her individual earnings from prostitution carried out at the brothel.
Why: To bring the definitions in our bylaw in line with those in the Act. Note: our current bylaw exempts premises with only one sex worker from location restrictions; however, this is not consistent with the Act.
Proposed rule: Clarify that small owner-operated brothels (no more than four sex workers) are excluded from the bylaw’s location restrictions. This means that small owner-operated brothels can be located in residential areas.
Why: The Act does not allow councils to regulate the location of small owner-operated brothels.
Proposed rule: Remove the requirement for a premises consent – a consent from council to operate a brothel from a particular site. This is not a planning, building or resource consent.
Why: In the current bylaw, premises with more than one sex worker are required to have a premises consent. The premises consents enable council to locate brothels and ensure any associated signage is permitted under the bylaw. As the Act allows for small owner-operated brothels (no more than four sex workers) to operate without location restriction, this requirement doesn’t align with legislation and could be challenged in Court. All brothels would still need to comply with relevant planning rules.
Proposed rule: Include a reference to the definition of operator in the Act:
(1) Operator, in relation to a business of prostitution, means a person who, whether alone or with others, owns, operates, controls, or manages the business; and includes (without limitation) any person who—
(a) is the director of a company that is an operator; or
(i) when or where an individual sex worker will work; or
(ii) the conditions in which sex workers in the business work; or
(iii) the amount of money, or proportion of an amount of money, that a sex worker receives as payment for prostitution; or
(c) is a person who employs, supervises, or directs any person who does any of the things referred to in paragraph (b).
Why: Signage requirements in our bylaw use the term “operator” in reference to who is responsible for non-compliance. Council wants to bring the definition in our bylaw in line with those in the Act.
Proposed rule: Minor amendment to the rules around signage to include reference to the general rules for signs in public places as per our Street Use and Public Places Bylaw 2018.
Why: For clarity and consistency, and so that our different bylaws follow the same general rules.
Proposed rule: Simplify the existing signage requirements to: “No advertising or touting of commercial sex services or commercial sex premises, including small owner-operated brothels, is permitted in a public place.” Note: a public place is a place that is open to, or being used by, the public.
Why: To make the existing requirements easier to understand.
Proposed rule: Exclude areas of open space, public reserve and the Baypark special use area from the permitted locations for brothels with five or more workers. Note: brothels with five or more workers are only permitted to be in commercial and industrial zones in Tauranga central, Mount Maunganui, Te Maunga, Greerton and Judea, and must be more than 100m from a school or place of worship.
Why: To tidy up the maps so that it is clear brothels with five or more workers are only permitted in areas zoned commercial or industrial.
We’re also proposing various other minor amendments for clarity and consistency. Refer to the marked-up bylaw for full details.