Bid to ban 'degrading' porn-star pageant

By Martin Johnston

The Boobs on Bikes parade featuring topless women on Queen St next Wednesday has drawn the condemnation of a majority of Auckland City Council members, who want its permit to be overturned.

Mayor Dick Hubbard spoke out strongly against the event yesterday and 13 councillors have signed a petition asking the bureaucracy to withdraw the council permit, which was granted without asking the politicians.

"I think such a parade down Queen St is totally inappropriate because it's shamelessly promoting a pornography trade fair," said Mr Hubbard. "It's particularly degrading to women."

Council chief executive David Rankin had undertaken to report back to him today on whether there were grounds to revoke the permit.

The police, whose primary concern was traffic, had approved the parade, according to a report by one of the council officials granting the permit.

The officials were acting under delegated authority so had no formal obligation to ask councillors, but the petitioners say they are "disappointed that the executive did not seek a political view or anticipate the depth of the negative public response".

"Our deep concern is that this permit sanctions the commercial promotion of a product which is exploitative and distasteful to a large section of the population," the petition says.

Erotica Lifestyles Expo organiser Steve Crow was given permission for the lunchtime parade featuring up to 30 porn stars in cars or on the back of motorcycles from Karangahape Rd to the bottom of Queen St. The expo opens at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane two days later.

He said the parade would go ahead, with or without a council permit. It had run in the past without one.

"I've got no interest in whether Auckland City Council thinks it's morally acceptable or not. It's legal under New Zealand law. They can basically go to hell; we're going to do it.

"I've never asked their permission and I'm still not ... All we did this year, after it got so big last year, is say it's probably a good idea if we put some crowd control and traffic management in place.

"Some people were over-zealous and silly" last year, he said.

Mr Hubbard acknowledged the parade did not need a council permit, but said that "further down the track" he would try to have such street events banned through bylaw changes.

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