A bill that would have given Manukau City Council powers to ban street prostitution was defeated in Parliament last night.

It was voted down 73-46 on its second reading, with MPs casting personal votes.

A select committee last month recommended that it should not go any further, saying it did not believe there should be local laws which were different to national laws.

It said there were options available to the council to increase street safety without resorting to new legal powers.

Labour MP George Hawkins sponsored the bill on behalf of the council.

It would have applied to sex workers and clients, creating offences such as loitering, and it would have given the police powers to arrest suspected offenders and require them to provide information.

The council said sex workers were a noisy nuisance, littered the streets, reduced public safety and lowered property values.

The select committee delivered a majority verdict that the bill should not proceed, but National MPs on it disagreed and put in a minority report.

They said they were concerned that children as young as 12 were soliciting on the streets in Manukau City and the council should have the right to control prostitution.

- NZPA