1 NEWS Reporter
A group of residents in Christchurch is demanding the council deal with the city's sex workers who are basing themselves in the suburb of St Albans.
Many of Christchurch's prostitutes were forced from the central city after the 2011 earthquakes cut off the CBD, but six years on many remain in the residential area at the northern end of Manchester Street.
Residents say the workers are highly disruptive and that the sex workers often leave rubbish all over their properties, including beer bottles, used condoms and faeces.
Some residents say they've found prostitutes servicing clients on their properties.
St Albans resident Matt Bonis says when it's busy there's often a prostitute on every corner outside his house, and his children have been woken often by the sex workers.
The residents have joined forces to take their issues to council, and say the council's bylaw that restricts commercial activity in public places means the sex workers should be moved on.
"It's very simple in my mind. None of us are on a moral crusade against prostitution," said Mr Bonis.
"The Government's legalised it and that's it. What we're saying is, it's clearly a commercial business.
A car came around the corner and a girl got thrown right out onto the street- Purchas Street resident Russell Craigie
"They're advertising commercial services, even if money doesn't change hands on the street. It's obvious what it is and it should be treated like every other industry."
Another Purchas Street resident, Russell Craigie, has lived on the street for five years, and has padlocked his gate to stop any sex workers entering his yard.
"At six o'clock in the morning it's not uncommon for them to be out here on the street," he said.
"Tradies picking them up. In fact one night a car came around the corner and a girl got thrown right out onto the street. That's the sort of activity that's going on. Undesirables. And we don't want them here."
The residents have employed the services of lawyer Duncan Webb, who says the prostitutes are breaching the bylaw and it's time for many agencies to step in.
"We want to make it really clear that this activity is in itself not an illegal activity. These women have their own issues and we want to make sure that they're looked after," said Mr Webb.
"But the conduct of this work in this area is highly disruptive. It goes on late at night. It can be noisy. There are all sorts of side effects, some of it not very nice."
The mere presence of a person on a street corner... is insufficient evidence that a commercial activity is being advertised or carried out- Christchurch City Council
The residents' group is taking its concerns to the Christchurch City Council later this month, but the council says while it's exploring its options, it's difficult to enforce.
In a statement the council said: "The mere presence of a person on a street corner, even if the manner of their attire and behaviour suggest that they may be working, is insufficient evidence that a commercial activity is being advertised or carried out.
"Sex workers do not use the billboards and banners that are typical of other business enterprises."
The Public Places Bylaw is currently under review, but isn't expected to go out to public consultation for another year.
A critical lack of workers is looming in the service industry, one of New Zealand's biggest job sectors, according to a research report released in Parliament today.
The country will need more than 200,000 extra workers in jobs like retailing, hospitality and aged care work in the next three years, according to the researchers from Business and Economic Research.
There's a boom in the fitness industry and tourism, there's an ageing population and a growing economy, all fuelling the need for more service workers.
Bruce Robertson of At Your Service Aotearoa, which commissioned the report, says the looming shortage is "certainly scary".
The Government is less worried.
"I think it's great opportunities for Kiwis when you're in a growing economy, creating more jobs," said Paul Goldsmith, Skills and Employment Minister.
"We're creating more jobs than the population is growing so there is opportunities for Kiwis to get employment."
Jobless figures out today show unemployment fell in the last three months to 132,000.
So in the short-term, businesses will have to turn to immigrants, but they'll also be in short supply when new visa changes kick in.
Mr Robertson says there's no single solution to the shortage.
"The issue will be addressed by getting more people coming into the service sector from school as a career option, retraining people who are having a lifestyle change, and immigration is likely to be part of the solution as well," he said.
Youth unemployment is at 13 per cent and industry training organisations want to harness them for the workforce.
"There are a number of programmes that we've got in place to address that group and to try and encourage them and to give them, not just the skills actually, it's the attributes of being enthusiastic about being at work," Mr Goldsmith said.
The Council of Trade Unions says make service sector wages more attractive.
Richard Wagstaff of the CTU says the service sector is the lowest paid sector and one Statistics New Zealand figures today show has pay rates falling faster than any sector.
Employers say they're aware of the wage issues.