A decision on whether to introduce a bylaw forcing street-based sex workers out of residential areas in Christchurch has been delayed.
City councillors today voted to work with agencies and residents to address issues surrounding street-based sex work, while staff prepare a report considering options for a bylaw.
The report is due in September, when council will decide whether a regulatory approach is a good idea.
Manchester St residents today spoke of their daily turmoil of finding condoms in their yard and feeling unsafe in their own homes.
Suzie Goulden and her husband Giles once lived in Manchester St and say they endured a wide range of negative activity.
"We were regularly verbally abused," she said.
"Direct threats were made as to the safety to ourselves, our house and our dog.
"Occasionally we've physically jostled and on one occasion I was assaulted."
Giles Goulden says they finally had enough in 2013.
"I think the thing that finally did it for me was when we had a new Labrador puppy, 8 weeks old, out on the driveway licking a condom," he said.
"It's hard to describe the feeling that gives you."
The couple said they suffered a monetary loss of about $250,000 when they sold their two Manchester St properties.
On the other hand, agencies working with sex workers say a bylaw would be a backwards step - and put prostitutes' safety is at risk.
The New Zealand Prostitute Collective (NZPC) began their deputation by urging council not to go ahead with a bylaw at all.
National manager Catherine Healey said: "It will take us back into that kind of relationship where we will perceive the police not to be our allies to combat violence or to turn to."
Although she felt there was good discussion today and all sides were canvassed, she said the council's decision to further discussion on a potential bylaw was "disappointing".
"A regulatory approach, exploring the options in respect to a regulatory approach is doomed," she said.
The NZPC will support "digging in deep" and hope that research, experience and evidence is provided to inform council.