Wellington City Council is giving its newest councillor a specific portfolio to stamp out sexual harassment and assault in the capital.

Fleur Fitzsimons will join the council this week after becoming the city's new Southern Ward Councillor.

She has taken the position from Paul Eagle, who left to become the new MP for Rongotai.

Her new portfolio includes social development, with a focus on city safety.


To her that meant eliminating the widespread sexual harassment and assault in the city, she said.

"It's totally unacceptable, and it's not enough to fix it on a case-by-case basis.

"We must eliminate the culture and climate that allows sexual harassment and assault to happen in the first place. I'm really committed to playing a role in doing that.

"I certainly want to focus on the sexual harassment people face in bars and establishments around the city, and also in sport."

Fitzsimons said reports of a woman being subjected to homophobic slurs and inappropriate touching at the Basin Reserve in January were disgraceful.

"I know cricket's interested in fixing that and creating a climate where that doesn't happen.

"But my point to sports and hospitality institutions is it's not enough to fix it on a case-by-case basis, we have to create the environment where this doesn't happen in the first place."

Fitzsimons said there needed to be a city-wide approach to stamping out sexual abuse.


"I'm going to be working with the hospitality industry and sporting organisations in Wellington to make sure that they are well-equipped to play their role.

Fitzsimons said she campaigned strongly on the issue during the Southern Ward by-election and received a lot of feedback in favour of the move.

It was only natural for the council and Mayor to support it with the creation of the portfolio, she said.

Fitzsimons acknowledged the issue was not just one that Wellington was grappling with.

"The whole MeToo campaign has definitely meant that a whole range of organisations and individuals are thinking about how they can contribute to eliminating sexual violence and sexual harassment in society.

"And that includes the Wellington City Council and the role of councillors in that."

Fitzsimons said her new portfolio included targeting isolation and loneliness in the city.

She will also pick up recreation, the living wage and community facilities.

Mayor Justin Lester said the city safety portfolio was created specifically for Fitzsimons.

"Fleur has decided this is an area of interest where she has particular concerns and she wants to have a real focus for Wellington.

"So, I'm going to give her the ability and empower her to see what initiatives she can try and put in place and improve anything the council might be doing."

Sexual Abuse Help Wellington is backing the move.

General manager Conor Twyford said she was delighted Councillor Fitzsimons was taking on the challenge.

"No level of abuse is acceptable... so elimination has to be the goal that we aim for."

She said there was an issue of abuse in Wellington, particularly at bars and sporting events.

Twyford said a coordinated approach between prevention agencies, police, tertiary institutions and the council could help.

"I'd love to see the city council walking alongside us.

"As a Wellington community we really need to step up and take responsibility."

Twyford said it is totally unacceptable sexual abuse is still happening in 2018.

She said this year started with a peak of sexual abuse referrals from police and was hopeful more collaboration would help bring the cases down this year.