Controversial brothel plan

By Natalie Dixon

1 comment
Mayor Stuart Crosby
Mayor Stuart Crosby

The cost of funerals may rise and children could be charged to camp at McLaren Falls but it will be 80 per cent cheaper to open a brothel under changes being considered by the Tauranga City Council.

Elected members will debate proposed changes to user fees and charges at tomorrow's council meeting, with council staff proposing to drop the cost of a new brothel consent application from $930 to just $210. Three-yearly renewals, which cost $700, would also be wiped completely under the plan.

Mayor Stuart Crosby told the Bay of Plenty Times the brothel consent fees would be changed to better reflect the costs incurred by council.

"Council tries to keep user fees and charges on actuals," he said. "That means we charge what it actually costs us. It does not matter if it is liquor licensing, prostitution, gambling or town planning - the charges will reflect the costs to council.

"In regards to the prostitution bylaw council has found very few issues when it comes to monitoring.

The industry tends to look after itself and if there are any problems, they come to us. We have a lot of cooperation from that sector which has reduced the cost to council. These proposed changes reflect that. The increases are generally in line with CPI (Consumer Price Index)."

Mount Maunganui Presbyterian Church Minister Ray Coster was concerned about the plan to reduce charges for brothels in the city.

He said the council needed to move beyond the simple user pays model and take into account ethical considerations. "It's very sad if things like funeral fees are going up ... essential things that communities need."

The council should not be cutting fees for brothels and councillors had a duty to reflect the views of the community in its decisions, he said.

St George's Anglican Church Minister John Hebenton said the council needed to give the public a chance to make submissions on the proposed changes.

Many other fees were tipped to go up, including the cost of hiring Baycourt, getting your dog out of the pound and plot and maintenance costs at Pyes Pa cemetery. Hairdressers and funeral directors would pay an extra $10 a year for registration, while the cost of selling self-grown fruit and vegetables on the side of the road could almost double, from $65 to $120 each year. An all day conference at Baycourt's complex would jump from $3317.75 to $3487.25, with small increases for other events including exhibitions, performances and private functions.

Dog owners would be charged $60 to get their pets out of the pound for the first time, up $10 from previous years. And $90 for a second impounding, an increase of $15.

Community housing could also rise, with increased fees for new tenants who pay around $10 extra a week, under the council proposal.

The price of burials at Pyes Pa cemetery would rise by $40, from $2040 to $2080, along with hourly chapel hire, increased by $10.

Charges for council staff, such as environmental monitoring officers will also rise by around $3 per hour.

However some parking charges could decrease, including the cost of half-day concession cards, down to $1-$2 and on-street leased carparks dropping $20 to $70.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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