Boobs event organiser: City won't stop parade

By Bernard Orsman

Businessman Steve Crow says his Boobs on Bikes parade down Queen St will go ahead, despite a new bylaw aimed at stopping events deemed offensive.

The Auckland City Council passed the bylaw last week, only weeks before Mr Crow plans another parade to promote the Erotica Lifestyles Expo.

The bylaw is the latest attempt by the council to stop bare-breasted women parading down Queen St aboard tanks, on the back of motorcycles and in open-top cars.

Despite political opposition, the event has become hugely popular, watched by tens of thousands of people.

Mayor John Banks yesterday said the council was opposed to the parade because it exploited women.

But he acknowledged difficulties with the bylaw, such as defining what was offensive and whether it could stop the parade.

The bylaw states the council can turn down a permit for an event if it "reasonably believes there is any other objectively justifiable and reasonable grounds for declining consent, for example that the event will be or is likely to be offensive".

Council events facilitator Wendy Wilson yesterday told Mr Crow in an email that council officers were likely to recommend permitting the parade, but the council would have to determine the "offensive criteria".

The bylaw does not define the word "offensive".

Mr Banks, Citizens & Ratepayers and most independent councillors voted down an amendment from City Vision leader Richard Northey to define the word "offensive" to include events with an "R-rated or an age-restricted commercial activity involving full or partial nudity and/or the simulation of sexual activity" taking placing within normal business hours on a road or pedestrian thoroughfare.

Denise Roche was the only Independent councillor to vote for the amendment.

Mr Crow said the bylaw was yet another attempt by the council to control what happened in the city.

He said the Bill of Rights contained fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of expression. Any attempt to stop the parade contravened those rights.

Mr Crow said he applied for a permit only to get council and police assistance to help with traffic and crowd control in the interests of public safety. Regardless of the outcome, the parade would take place on August 20.

The Human Rights Commission said through a spokesman that the text of the bylaw set a high threshold.

He said people could always make a complaint to the commission if they believed they had been discriminated against.

- NZ Herald

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