Christchurch City Council will not pursue a bylaw to regulate street-based sex work in Manchester Street.
Instead the Council will work with the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective on setting up a community working group to look at other ways street-based sex workers can be encouraged to work away from residential areas.
Police and affected residents will be among those invited to be part of that working group.
The Council’s Head of Strategic Policy, Helen Beaumont, acknowledged some residents would be upset by the Council’s decision not to pursue a bylaw.
However, she said it had become clear during investigations that a bylaw created under the Local Government Act would be very difficult to effectively enforce.
The Police, who initially indicated a willingness to assist Council by enforcing a new bylaw regulating street-based sex work, had withdrawn their support.
“The current legislative framework makes it tough to enforce bylaws addressing issues like this. For a bylaw to be effective, you need effective enforcement tools and we don’t have those in this case,’’ Ms Beaumont said.
“We think the issues can be addressed in other ways. We’ve been looking closely at what has worked in Auckland and are working with the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, the Police and social agencies on ways we can encourage the street-based sex workers to relocate.’’
Residents of the area of Manchester Street north of Bealey Avenue have complained about street-based sex workers in the area since the 2011 earthquake.
Sex workers who had traditionally frequented Manchester Street south of Bealey Avenue were forced out of that area when the city was cordoned after the 2011 earthquake. They have been reluctant to move back there because of roadworks.
Residents north of Bealey Avenue say although some sex workers have moved closer to the central city, some have not and they and their associates continue to cause problems.