Residents in some Christchurch suburbs have been struggling with street-based sex workers and their clients after the earthquake moved them to residential areas, however building relationships is a better alternative to a bylaw, says the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC).
The Christchurch City Council are voting on introducing a bylaw to regulate street-based sex work, but recently police dropped their support, saying it would be difficult to enforce.
NZPC national coordinator Catherine Healy said despite the sex work being "very pronouced" in certain areas, changing that is instead about building relationships with the workers to help move the industry back into the city.
"We've got a lot of sympathy with the residents and we've been using all our persuasive powers to get those women who remain working in the contentious areas [to move back into the city]," she said.
Ms Healy said that had been "quite effective", with three outreach groups working on the issue.
She said it was about "building relationships, saying 'this isn't on guys',".
"That kind of argument resonates with sex workers. We haven't succeeded 100 per cent but it's a better approach, we think, than a bylaw."
As the council and police were skeptical about the probability of enforcing a bylaw, Ms Healy said the NZPC hoped the idea was "dead in the water and we can continue to work with residents directly and sex workers to come to a more palatable solution."
"It will be one of those issues to continue to flare up. It never worked historically (when) we had soliciting legislation. It never stopped or made a jot of difference."