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Wellington City councillors not abreast on Boobs on Bikes issue

Aug 27th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Article

WELLINGTON councillors seem unlikely to lie in the path of pornographer Steve Crow’s plan to bring the Boobs on Bikes parade to the capital.

Three councillors, including Mayor Kerry Prendergast, told NewsWire they opposed the parade. Two councillors didn’t object, one said he was indifferent to the issue and the others failed to respond to NewsWire’s request for comment.

Ms Prendergast said: “Wellingtonians will dismiss it for what it is – a tacky money-making exercise.”

It’s not clear whether councillors will get to vote on the parade issue: Auckland City voted against, but failed in a court bid to ban it.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the council had reviewed its bylaws and found that if the parade was carried out in the same manner as in Auckland, it would not be breaching bylaws.

Asked if the matter could come to a council vote, he said: “I can’t see it happening, but if a councillor wants to bring it to a council meeting they have the right.”

A permit would not be necessary if the motorbikes were amongst normal traffic but, if organisers wanted an orderly parade, it would be best to work in conjunction with the council and police.

Told that in a NewsWire poll 68% of respondents were either supportive or indifferent towards Boobs on Bikes coming to Wellington, Ms Prendergast admitted the event would draw crowds but said it was a publicity stunt and “the more we ignore it the better”.

Councillor Hayley Wain was not opposed to the parade and said most people she had talked to did not have a problem with it.

“I am the youngest councillor at 22 and feel that my generation have been brought up in a society where it is normal for females’ boobs to be exposed on television or at the movies.”

Ms Wain said that if the parade went ahead, parents with children should be warned so they could avoid the particular area.

That sentiment was endorsed by councillor John Morrison, who said he believed in freedom of choice.

“If you don’t like the idea of the parade, don’t go to it,” he said.

Councillor Rob Goulden was indifferent, saying a lot of people didn’t really care about it.

“There are far more important things going on.”

Councillors Celia Wade-Brown and Helene Ritchie were not so apathetic.

“I have no problem with bare breasts,” Ms Ritchie said. “I do have a problem with promoting pornography and sexual violence, all of which this seems to promote.”

Similarly, Ms Wade-Brown opposed the parade, saying: “The most unpleasant thing is that the women involved are being used by someone to get advertising.”

Mr Crow’s only comment on the NewsWire poll was: “That’s how democracy works”.

Mr MacLean said Mr Crow had not contacted the council about the proposed parade.

PICTURE: Boobs on Bikes participants in Auckland.

INSET: Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast

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