Apply for a brothel operator certificate

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Anyone who wants to operate a prostitution business must apply for a brothel operator certificate.

People who need a brothel operator certificate

An operator is a person who, whether alone or with others, owns, operates, controls or manages the business. This includes:

  • every director of a company that owns a prostitution business
  • someone who decides:
    • when or where a sex worker will work, or
    • the conditions in which a sex worker will work, or
    • the amount of money that a sex worker is paid
  • a person who employs, supervises or directs any person who does any of the things referred to above.

To be given an operator's certificate, you must be:

  • over the age of 18, and
  • a New Zealand or Australian citizen, or have permanent residency for New Zealand or Australia.

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People who can’t get a brothel operator certificate

A person in New Zealand who has a temporary or a limited purposes permit is not allowed to run a prostitution business or provide commercial sexual services.

Small owner-operated brothels don’t usually have an operator who should have a certificate. (A small owner-operated brothel has no more than 4 sex workers and each sex worker is in control of their earnings from the brothel.)

Forms to apply for a brothel operator certificate

A brothel certificate application costs $250.

You must include with your application form:

  • 1 authenticated copy of an official photo identification, like your passport or New Zealand driver licence.
  • 1 authenticated passport-style photo.

Brothel operator certificate application form [PDF, 28 KB]

Send your application to:
The Registrar (Prostitution Reform Act)
Auckland District Court
Private Bag 92191
Auckland 1142

You can email us any questions:


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Criminal record check

If you meet the requirements the Registrar will check if you have criminal convictions. Some convictions disqualify people from holding a certificate. These convictions include offences under:

  • parts of the Crimes Act 1961, punishable by 2 or more years in prison, including being part of an organised criminal group, sexual crimes, murder, manslaughter, assault, abduction, robbery, extortion, burglary and money laundering
  • the Arms Act 1983, punishable by imprisonment
  • parts of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

Find out more about the criminal record check

If you’ve been denied a brothel operator certificate because of a conviction

If you’ve been denied a certificate because of a conviction you can apply to the Registrar of the Auckland District Court to have your disqualification waived.

To waive the disqualification a District Court judge needs to be satisfied that the offending happened so long ago or was of such a nature that it should not be a barrier to you getting a brothel operator certificate. The judge also needs to be satisfied you haven't been associating with people who might be disqualified and will ask the police to give a report.

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Renew your certificate

Two months before your certificate is due to expire you should file a new application to the Auckland District Court to make sure you receive your new licence before your current licence expires.

Use the same application form and send it to the same postal address you used to apply.

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Replace your certificate

If you've lost your licence it costs $30 to get a replacement certificate.

To replace your certificate you need to make a statutory declaration to Auckland District Court stating what happened to your original one.

Find out more about how to make a statutory declaration

Find out more

If you need any help or have any questions contact Auckland District Court:


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