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6 The Brothel Operator Certification System

PLRC report - The Brothel Operator Certification System

6.1 Introduction

6.2 How the System Operates

6.3 Victoria's Brothel Licensing Regime

6.4 The New Zealand Certification System

6.5 Does the Current System Work?

6.6 The Way Forward

6.7 Recommendations

6.1 Introduction

This chapter fulfils the Committee's statutory obligation to assess the system of certification for brothel operators. Specifically, the Committee must consider whether the system of certification is effective or could be improved, whether any other agency or agencies could or should administer it, and whether a system is needed for identifying the location of businesses of prostitution.

6.1.1 Rationale Behind the System

In its report on the Prostitution Reform Bill, the Justice and Electoral Committee considered that decriminalisation on its own did not provide enough protection for sex workers. Therefore, a certification system was suggested to 'ensure those in control of workers are suitable for the role', and to 'help keep organised crime, criminal entrepreneurs and other criminals out of the industry' (Select Committee, 2002).

The Select Committee noted the licensing system then currently operating under the Massage Parlours Act 1978 (MPA) provided a model upon which a certification system could be based. In particular, the 'fitness of character' test in the new system should be similarly based on the applicant not having any previous convictions (although prostitution-related convictions would be excluded in the event the Bill was passed). The system was intended to be simple and straightforward to encourage compliance. Extending the fitness of character test to cover factors other than disqualifying convictions was considered to make the system too complex. Some of the Select Committee members also considered extending the regime to all operators was contrary to the spirit of the Bill and could undermine the rationale of decriminalisation. 'The criteria proposed to get certification should be open, transparent and related to the reason for having a certification regime – namely the protection of sex workers' (Select Committee, 2002).

The Select Committee concluded that, although its members could not agree whether to amend the Bill to include a certification regime, its consideration of the matter should be included in its report so that any Member of Parliament who chose to suggest such an amendment would have the benefit of the information considered by the Select Committee.

Consequently, during the final Parliamentary debates on the Bill, the then Minister of Justice Hon Phil Goff tabled a Supplementary Order Paper proposing a certification regime for brothel operators. Parliament agreed to the proposed amendment and the current certification regime was included in the PRA.

The proposed regime had many features in common with the system of licensing under the MPA. However, applicants under the new system did not have to be vetted by Police, and Police did not have a right to object to any applications. Also, operators no longer needed to supply the name and address of each business they were involved in, and did not need to supply the name of any managers or other staff they employed.

Some members of the Select Committee were concerned that certification would undermine the spirit of decriminalisation. This was addressed by applying the regime to only those operators in control of sex workers. Sole operators and collectives of four or less sex workers where each worker controlled their own earnings were exempt. These were known as small owner-operated brothels (SOOBs). SOOBs do not have 'operators' and therefore do not require operator certificates. SOOBs are discussed further below.


The current system ensures, within certain parameters, the suitability of people to be brothel operators. It excludes people whose criminal histories may suggest they are not fit to be in a position of power over sex workers. However, as the Select Committee noted, it is possible to circumvent such a system by using a front person who has no disqualifying convictions.

The fitness of character test is premised on the belief that the sex industry is populated by people who have criminal tendencies who must be monitored and prevented from further offending. The Prostitution Law Review Committee considers that, as the rationale behind the law reform was to decriminalise the sex industry, continuing to vet people in the industry for criminal convictions is incongruous. However, the Committee also considers the illegal and clandestine history of the sex industry means criminal elements have been (and may continue to be) involved. In addition, the risk of exploitation faced by sex workers means that unscrupulous operators, or those with connections to organised crime, should be excluded from operating businesses of prostitution. Therefore, the Committee considers people with disqualifying convictions should continue to be prevented from holding operator's certificates.

6.2 How the System Operates

6.2.1 Who Requires a Certificate?

Under section 34, every operator of a business of prostitution must hold a valid operator's certificate. The definition of operator (section 5) includes anyone who determines when or where sex workers will work, under what conditions, and for how much money. This definition includes managers and receptionists.

The term 'receptionist' has a unique meaning in the sex industry. Receptionists may exercise a degree of control over sex workers similar to that of operators. Duties of a receptionist may include interviewing and hiring sex workers, and setting and supervising their working conditions.

Street-based sex workers are not included in the system of certification. Some street workers have 'minders', who could be considered operators of businesses of prostitution under the PRA; however, this is yet to be tested by the courts. As discussed in chapter eight, high levels of regulation may not be appropriate, or possible, in the street sector.

To be eligible for an operator's certificate, applicants must be over the age of 18, be a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand or Australia, and not have any disqualifying convictions as discussed above. A person in New Zealand who has a temporary or a limited purposes permit is not allowed to act as an operator of a New Zealand business of prostitution. In addition, a person who holds a provisional residency permit may have that permit revoked if they operate or invest in a business of prostitution.19

6.2.2 The Application Procedure

Applications for operators' certificates are made to the Registrar of the Auckland District Court. The application must include an authenticated copy of an official photo identification (e.g. passport, driver's licence), and one authenticated passport-style photo.20 An application fee of $205 applies.

Applications are reviewed by the Registrar to check if the applicant has a criminal record. A person is disqualified from holding a certificate if they have been convicted at any time of committing, or attempting to commit, certain criminal offences. The disqualifying offences are:

  • Any offences under the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (other than under sections 39(3), 40(2), and 41(3) which relate to certificates);
  • Section 98A of the Crimes Act 1961 (participation in an organised criminal group);
  • Sections 127 to 144C of the Crimes Act (sexual crimes);
  • Part VIII of the Crimes Act (which includes murder, manslaughter, assault, and abduction);
  • Sections 234 to 244 of the Crimes Act (robbery, extortion, and burglary); Section 257A of the Crimes Act (money laundering);
  • Any offence under the Arms Act 1983 that is punishable by imprisonment;
  • An offence under sections 9, 12A or 12B of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975;
  • An offence under section 6 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (other than possession of a Class C controlled drug); and
  • An offence under any other section of the Misuse of Drugs Act, but only if it relates to a Class A or Class B controlled drug.

Anyone who has been refused a certificate because they have been convicted of a disqualifying offence can apply to the Registrar of the Auckland District Court to have their disqualification waived. The Registrar will refer the application to a District Court Judge for determination. The Judge must be satisfied that the offending happened so long ago, or was of such a nature, that it should not be a barrier to getting an operator's certificate. The Judge also needs to be satisfied the applicant has not been associating with people who might themselves be disqualified. The Judge will ask the Police to provide a report on this matter.

In limited circumstances, criminal histories may be concealed under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004.21 Therefore, if they are eligible under this Act, a person may not have to disclose previous convictions in their application for an operator's certificate.22

Certificates are valid for one year from the date of issue; however, they may be revoked if the certificate holder is subsequently convicted of a disqualifying offence. Applications for renewal of the certificate can be made anytime within two months before the current certificate expires. The full application of $205 applies. Replacement of lost certificates costs $25 and requires a similar application process as for the original certificate. Before the Registrar will issue a replacement certificate, he or she must be satisfied that the original certificate has been genuinely lost or destroyed. The following section provides a flow chart of the application process.

6.2.3 Application Procedure Flow Chart

Application Procedure Flow Chart

6.2.4 Penalties

Every person who operates a business of prostitution without a valid certificate is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000.23

A certificate holder must present their certificate to a member of the Police for inspection within 24 hours of a request to do so. Failure to do so renders the certificate holder liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000.24

The Registrar may cancel a certificate if the certificate holder is convicted of any disqualifying offences, or has his or her waiver of disqualification cancelled. Failure to return a cancelled certificate within one month of its cancellation is an offence liable on summary prosecution to a fine not exceeding $2,000.25

Between June 2003 and March 2008, three charges were laid against operators for not holding a valid certificate.26 As of March 2008, one of the charges had resulted in a conviction for which a fine was imposed, the other two had been withdrawn (Ministry of Justice, 2008).

6.2.5 Register of Brothel Operators

The Auckland District Court maintains the register of holders of brothel operator's certificates. The register is available to be inspected by the applicant or holder concerned and the Registrar. Members of the Police may also inspect the register, but only for the purpose of investigating an offence. Contravention of this section is an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,000. The register only contains the details provided on the application forms, and therefore does not include the name or names of any business of prostitution the certificate holder is associated with.

Under the MPA, Police were automatically informed of any application for a massage parlour licence, and had the opportunity to object to any applicant being licensed. Police kept records of all licences issued in their jurisdiction for the purposes of inspection, and had the right to enter and inspect any premises licensed under the MPA.

It is appropriate the register not be publicly available. In any case, because access to the information on the register is tightly restricted and not linked to businesses or premises, the register is very rarely inspected, if at all. Information from the Auckland District Court indicates Police have requested information from the register on one occasion. However, as the enquiry was in relation to business premises, the register does not contain this information (Ministry of Justice, 2007).

6.2.6 Licences Required under Local Bylaws

As noted in chapter nine, seven territorial authorities have implemented local licensing systems for commercial sex business. Licences must be obtained in addition to the brothel operator's certificate and an additional fee paid. Fees for licences range from $200 a year to $500 a year.

6.3 Victoria's Brothel Licensing Regime

The Committee considers the brothel licensing regime in the Australian state of Victoria provides a useful comparison to New Zealand's current system owing to its longevity, its close geographical proximity, and the familiarity that New Zealanders have with its culture.

6.3.1 How Victoria's Regime Operates

In 1986, prostitution was legalised in Victoria. A licensing regime for all 'prostitution service providers' was introduced by the Prostitution Control Act 1994.

To be eligible for a prostitution service provider's licence, applicants must be at least 18 years old and not have been convicted of an indictable offence in the last five years or had a previous prostitution service provider's licence cancelled. The Business Licensing Authority (BLA) must also consider the applicant to be a suitable person to trade as a prostitution service provider, and not associate with persons of bad repute.27 The BLA must also be satisfied the applicant can ensure employees' occupational health and safety. Applicants are interviewed by a representative of the BLA and tested on their knowledge of the relevant legislation (Business Licensing Authority, 2008).

Applicants for a service provider's licence must have a planning permit from the local territorial authority. Small owner-operated brothels are exempt from the licensing regime, but must apply for an exemption and are still required to obtain planning permits.

An application fee of A$3,770.30 per year is payable in addition to the licence fee of A$2,154.40 per year. Brothels are limited to six rooms. A fee of A$404 is charged for each additional room. Separate licences (and fees) are required to run an escort agency or have escorts working from a licensed brothel.

Prostitution service providers who trade without a licence risk a fine of A$66,000 and/or five years' imprisonment.

Brothels must be personally supervised by the licensee, or a currently approved manager, at all times when trading. Similar application criteria apply to those wishing to become an approved manager of a prostitution service provider's business. A fee of A$273 is payable upon application.

6.3.2 Criticism of the Victorian Licensing Regime

The licensing system in Victoria has been criticised for being too restrictive, the application process too onerous, and the compliance costs too high. As a result, non-compliance is common and a two-tiered industry of legal (licensed) and illegal (unlicensed) brothels has developed (Jordan, 2005).

The Justice and Electoral Committee noted that workers employed in licensed brothels in Victoria can be exploited by licensees. They may have no control over their working conditions or what services they provide.

The Australian sex workers' organisation, Scarlet Alliance, has criticised the Victorian system of licensing. Scarlet Alliance says that the majority of individual sex workers are working outside the system and are therefore exposed to exploitation due to their legal vulnerability (Scarlet Alliance, 2005).

The exemption for small owner-operated brothels has also been criticised by Scarlet Alliance because too many other parties are involved in approvals, creating privacy issues for the applicant. It is considered these regulations create a barrier to compliance.

Scarlet Alliance also argues that 'the regulations do not allow for the natural progression from sex worker, to small business operator, to brothel or escort agency operator, as it favours only people who are well resourced, who may not have the expertise nor be the best persons to run these businesses' (Scarlet Alliance, 2005).

6.4 The New Zealand Certification System

6.4.1 Information From Brothel Operators

Participants in the CJRC key informant interviews (2007) considered certificates were not hard to get and compliance with the current system is generally good. Unlike in Victoria, Australia, a two-tier system of certified and uncertified (illegal) brothels does not seem to have developed in New Zealand. However, some operators reported that it was in fact too easy to get a certificate.

They are too easy to get. I've lost confidence in the system. I used to be a car dealer and to get a licence was really hard. For this, there is no training, no interview, no asking what you know. What's the point?

(Brothel Operator, CJRC, 2007)

The reapplication process was criticised for being inconvenient and time consuming. In particular, the requirement that new authorised photo identification be provided with each renewal was seen as a hassle; it was suggested that a new photo should only be required every five years. Participants suggested a simplified renewal process, rather than having to provide a complete application each year.

It was also reported that some brothel operators do not require their receptionists, or other staff, to hold certificates, and some businesses were avoiding certification by operating under the guise of SOOBs. This may in part be due to some confusion over who is required to hold a certificate (CJRC, 2007).

6.4.2 Small Owner-Operated Brothels

Some operators who took part in the CJRC interviews questioned the definition of a SOOB and whether the rule of four or less sex workers was per shift or in total. Police have also raised this question, and suggest clarifying the definition of SOOB would close the theoretical loophole that is being exploited by some operators who claim to be SOOBs because only four sex workers work at one time (NZ Police, 2007).

The purpose of requiring no certificates for SOOBs is that only people who have control over sex workers should be required to be certified. If an operator sets the working conditions of any sex workers (even one), they require a certificate. Likewise, if more than four sex workers work from the same premises it is no longer considered a SOOB, and one or all of the workers may require a certificate.

When the PRA was enacted, it was not intended that individual sex workers should be certified. However, in keeping with the aim to improve protections for sex workers, it was considered those who held positions of control over sex workers should be subject to some form of scrutiny, hence a system of certification.

In light of the changes to the certification system (discussed below), the Committee does not consider any amendment to the definition of SOOB is necessary.

6.4.3 Inspections and Ongoing Monitoring

Neither the Registrar of the Auckland District Court, nor the wider Ministry of Justice has a role in enforcing or monitoring operator certificates once issued.

Medical Officers of Health may enter and inspect brothels for the purposes of determining compliance with requirements for sex workers and brothel operators to adopt and promote safer sex practices. In addition, under section 31 of the Health and Safety Act, Health and Safety inspectors (formally known as OSH inspectors) may enter and inspect any place of work. Inspectors may enter homes (e.g. SOOBs) either with the consent of the occupier or if authorised to do so by a warrant issued by a District Court Judge. In addition, local authorities may carry out inspections for compliance with standards for such things as spa pools.

Police officers do not have a responsibility to inspect brothels for compliance with either health and safety requirements or employment conditions. However, many brothels have liquor licences. This allows inspections by Police, District Licensing Authorities and Health officials.

Police may request an operator produce their certificate for inspection within 24 hours. Police may obtain a warrant to enter a brothel to investigate offences28 relating to the use of under age people in prostitution and being an operator while not holding a certificate.29 Police may also obtain a warrant to enter a brothel or any business to investigate the commission of any offence, including offences not exclusively related to the PRA.

Police has noted the removal of the powers to enter a brothel for inspection previously conferred under the MPA (NZ Police, 2007). However, Police did not suggest such powers be reinstated.

Compliance operations are undertaken by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) with the support of Police (Immigration, 2008). Officers may enter any business, including brothels and SOOBs in the course of investigating offences under the Immigration Act 1987. These operations are based on information and intelligence received by INZ. The operations locate specific persons working illegally in the sex industry (in contravention of section 19 of the PRA), and aim to detect any evidence of trafficking in persons. Trafficking is discussed in chapter 13 of this report. Police may check brothel operators hold valid certificates during the course of these investigations.

Negotiating working conditions and responding to unfair management practices are traditionally matters for workers' unions. Although not strictly a workers' union, the NZPC currently fulfils an advocacy role for sex workers. This matter is discussed further in chapter ten. NZPC maintains relations with most brothels, but has no responsibility or authority to check an operator's certification. If a brothel operator does not wish sex workers in their establishment to have contact with NZPC, he or she may refuse entry to outreach workers.

6.4.4 Brothel Operators' Comments on Inspections

The major complaint expressed about the certification system was that, once a certificate was issued, it was never checked. For many participants in the CJRC interviews, the fact that their certificates were never checked made the system pointless.

I have never had anyone ask about our operator certificate. I have had checks on the liquor licence but not a check for operators of brothels. I would like to see operators' certificates regularly checked for all brothel operators.

(Brothel operator, CJRC, 2007)

Ongoing monitoring is key to a robust system of certification. In addition to the calls from within the industry for more checks on certificates, it was suggested operators should also have knowledge of the PRA and appropriate management practices in the sex industry. Operators should be called on to demonstrate this knowledge in order to achieve and retain their certification (CJRC, 2007).

6.4.5 Numbers of Operator Certificates Issued

Information from the Auckland District Court indicates the number of brothel operators' certificates has decreased each year since the certification system was implemented.

Factors responsible for the decline in the number of certificates may include: brothel operators not requiring that all staff that should hold a certificate do so; a lack of enforcement; and/or brothels operating illegally as SOOBs; or a decline in the number of brothels.

In addition, brothel operators report increasing difficulty making commercial sex businesses viable. Some businesses that opened since the PRA have struggled to attract workers and clients alike, and have closed as a result.

The number of new applications has also dropped each year. There is no process for identifying whether the new applications are from new brothel owners, or merely new staff in existing brothels. However, given information about the size and viability of the industry it seems unlikely that many would be in relation to new brothels setting up.

6.5 Does the Current System Work?

The Committee considers that the certification system as it is currently operating is not working satisfactorily. Parliament introduced the system to ensure that only those 'suitable for the role' should be in a position of power over sex workers. In part, the certification system has achieved this. The fitness of character test appears to be robust, in that the Committee has no evidence that people have attempted to circumvent the system by using a 'front person' with no disqualifying convictions to apply for a certificate, as some members of the Select Committee feared might occur.

However, the certification system does not have any attributes that would enable it to meet the Select Committee's criterion of protecting sex workers. Having established the certification system, no enforcement procedure has developed to check that brothel operators obtain and maintain current certification. Further, there is no established regime to ensure that brothel operators are promoting the welfare and occupational health and safety of managed sex workers. The Committee considers that these are major failings of the certification system.

Finally, the Committee considers that requiring annual applications for certificates is unnecessarily frequent.

6.6 The Way Forward

The majority of the Committee considers the current system of certification has merit, but the current provisions require greater enforcement to give effect to the purpose of the PRA. One Committee member considers a certification system is unnecessary, and would prefer the system be abandoned. The member notes the current system does nothing to prevent exploitative or coercive practices in the sex industry, however concedes it also does no harm.

The danger of a two-tier system of legal and illegal brothels developing must be avoided. Therefore, regulation should initially be kept to a minimum whilst still providing adequate checks on those managing sex workers. Gradual changes are needed to ensure the confidence and support of the industry.

6.6.1 Who Should Require a Certificate?

The Committee considers all those who manage the working conditions and/or payment received by sex workers should continue to require a certificate.

6.6.2 Who Should be Eligible for a Certificate?

The Committee considers the current threshold of eligibility to hold a certificate (over 18 and NZ citizen/permanent resident) is sound; therefore the Committee does not suggest amendment of these provisions.

The current provisions regarding disqualification from holding a certificate on the basis of criminal convictions are also sound, and should be retained.

Certificate holders should have an understanding of the requirements on them under the PRA, and in general employment legislation. Operators should also ensure their management staff comply with the PRA, and health and safety in employment requirements.

The Committee recommends that, to obtain a certificate, an applicant must also agree to facilitate inspections.

6.6.3 Information Should be Provided when Certificates Issued

The Committee is aware that some brothel operators maintain a liquor licence which requires them to demonstrate an understanding of their rights and responsibilities in relation to the sale of alcohol. This could provide a model for brothel certification. However, the Committee considers that, at this early stage of a decriminalised sex industry, the introduction of too onerous a certification system may lead to the development of a two-tier industry, as has occurred in Victoria. Therefore, the Committee considers that applicants should not be required to pass a test on their rights and responsibilities as brothel operators before being supplied with an operator's certificate. Rather, they should be provided with information about these matters at the time of receipt of a certificate. This should increase brothel operators' knowledge about good employment practices and where to obtain further advice and support. Information packs should include:

  • Information about rights and responsibilities under the PRA;
  • Information about brothel operators' responsibilities regarding occupational health and safety and safer sex practices;
  • Information about rights and responsibilities under the general employment legislation;
  • Sample employment contract;
  • Information about tax/ACC compliance;
  • Information about the local bylaws;
  • Information about exiting the industry; and
  • Who to contact for further information and support.

The Committee recommends the Department of Labour work with NZPC and industry representatives to compile a user friendly information package for applicants. The Committee also recommends the Department of Labour update the existing OSH guidelines to include a user friendly management guide for the sex industry.

The cost of the provision of information should ultimately be borne by the certificate holder. However, as high compliance costs have been demonstrated to be a barrier to compliance in other jurisdictions, the Committee recommends the application fee should remain at the current level. Increased fees should only be considered at a time when the system is operating with the confidence and support of the industry. The Department of Labour may require additional funding from central government to cover the cost of increased inspections and the provision of information.

6.6.4 Should Certificates be Linked to Businesses?

The Committee considered the question of whether a register of businesses of prostitution (brothels) should be created to facilitate the inspection regime. Initially, the majority of the Committee considered certificates should link the applicant to their business or businesses and the premises from which they operate. The list of businesses should be available to be searched by Police, Immigration, OSH, and Medical Officers of Health for the purposes of inspecting brothels and ensuring compliance with the provisions of the PRA.

However, a minority of the Committee strongly disagreed. It was argued that smaller operators would be disadvantaged by having to declare their business address as they may be operating from a rental property where the landlord is unaware of the nature of their business. In addition, smaller operators often move premises. The requirement to update certificate details each time they moved would become onerous and may become a reason for non-compliance.

NZPC advise that there is a considerable level of fear in the sex industry that information held in registers may not remain confidential, and may be misused. Experiences of the Police registration system prior to the PRA have made both sex workers and brothel operators extremely apprehensive about registers.

Under the MPA (Police registration system), anyone employed in a massage parlour had to register with local Police. Sex workers wishing to place advertisements in newspapers also had to first register with Police. According to NZPC, Police sometimes treated complaints from victims of crime differently if the victim was a sex worker. This is despite the complainant not mentioning a connection with the sex industry. Because of their involvement in the sex industry, complaints about rape or other sexual assaults were minimised, and often not taken any further (NZPC, 2007).

NZPC also reports a fear exists that information about people's involvement in the sex industry may surface when trying to leave the industry (e.g. via Police checks done by new employers), and when travelling overseas to jurisdictions where prostitution is illegal.

The Committee considers the likelihood of a register of brothels being misused is minimal. As noted above, there are strict restrictions on access to the current register, and similar restrictions and safeguards could be applied to a register of brothel premises. However, the Committee also acknowledges the very real fear that exists within the sex industry. Any possibility that this fear could be reason for brothel operators not to comply with certification should be taken seriously.

The Committee also notes information from Immigration New Zealand that the absence of a list of businesses of prostitution does not prevent inspections and compliance operations. In addition, IRD has been able to contact brothel operators without the aid of a list of businesses.

Therefore, on balance, the Committee concluded that a register of businesses of prostitution is not required. However, the majority of the Committee recommends that the list of certificate holders be available to be searched by Police, Immigration, OSH, and Medical Officers of Health for the purposes of inspecting brothels, ensuring compliance with the provisions of the PRA and other relevant legislation.

A minority of the Committee considers that the list of certificate holders should not be available to agencies on the basis that it is not necessary to establish the location of brothels, as this can be done by other means. In addition, the disclosure of the identities of certificate holders could lead some brothel operators to opt out of the certification process altogether, because of the fears outlined above.

6.6.5 Period of Certification Validity

Currently, certificates are valid for one year. The Committee considers the PRA should be amended so that certificates should remain valid for three years from issue.

6.6.6 Administration of the Certification System

As noted above, the Committee recommends the current criteria for disqualification from holding a certificate should remain. The Ministry of Justice, via the Auckland District Court, is the appropriate body to scrutinise criminal records. Therefore, the administration of the certification system should remain with the Ministry of Justice.

6.6.7 Brothel Inspections

The Committee considers that the Department of Labour should be the lead agency to manage the inspection of brothels. The Department should work with NZPC, other NGOs and industry representatives to establish an inspection regime that covers both OSH regulations and is also attuned to identifying coercive or exploitative practices. The Ministry of Health should continue to be responsible for inspection of brothels by Medical Officers of Health (for compliance with safer sex practices). Further powers to inspect brothels are not considered necessary. The Department of Labour may require additional funding from central government to cover the cost of increased inspections and the provision of information.

6.6.8 Amendment to the PRA

Amendments to the PRA are required to implement the Committee's recommendations regarding access to the list of certificate holders and the lengthening of the period of a certificate's validity.

6.7 Recommendations

The Committee recommends that the current brothel certification system be maintained, but that the PRA be amended to extend the period of certificate validity to three years.

The majority of the Committee recommends that the PRA be amended to ensure that the list of certificate holders be available to be searched by Police, Immigration, OSH, and Medical Officers of Health for the purpose of facilitating the inspection of brothels and brothel operators.

The Committee recommends that comprehensive information on brothel operators' rights and responsibilities should be provided to applicants at the time they receive a certificate.

The Committee recommends that an applicant must agree to facilitate inspections to obtain a certificate.


19. Section 19 of the PRA, pursuant to section 20(1)(d) of the Immigration Act 1987.

20. For authentication purposes an authorised person is someone who is a lawyer, a Registrar or Deputy Registrar of any District Court, a Justice of the Peace (JP), Kaumātua, Minister of Religion, Police Officer, or Registered Medical Professional. They must not be: a relative, or part the applicant's family, or live at the same address as the applicant, or be the applicant's employer.

21. An individual is eligible to conceal their criminal record under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 if the seven-year rehabilitation period has elapsed since their most recent conviction and all fines or reparations have been paid, no custodial sentence was ever imposed, they have never been committed under mental health provisions, and have never been convicted of a specified offence (sections of the Crimes Act 1961 dealing with sexual offending).

22. Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 section 2, (Relationship to other provisions).

23. PRA section 34(2)

24. PRA section 40(2)

25. PRA section 39(3)

26. PRA section 34(2)

27. The Business Licensing Authority is an independent body set up by the Business Licensing Authority Act 1998. It administers licensing, registration and permission provisions under various legislation, including the Estate Agents Act 1986, Motor Car Traders Act 1986, Second-Hand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 1989, the Travel Agents Act 1986, as well as the Prostitution Control Act 1994. New Zealand does not have an equivalent body.

28. Pursuant to section 30 of the PRA.

29. Sections 23 and 34 of the PRA respectively.

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