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The New Zealand Government. Always Ready to Help.

After legalising prostitution last year, the New Zealand government has now issued a 100 page Occupational Health and Safety manual.

The recommendations – which the New Zealand Herald said will also be distributed to brothels and sex workers – include detailed advice on safe sex practices such as the storage and handling of sex toys and disinfecting equipment.

Employers are asked to ensure condoms in a variety of shapes and sizes are always available, and to provide beds that support the back for a variety of services to be performed without strain or discomfort.

Sex workers are cautioned to watch out for occupational overuse syndrome, often caused by rapid repetitive tasks or forceful movements, and to carry a small torch in case they need to check clients for sexually transmitted diseases.

Comprehensive training of staff in the safe use of all equipment, particularly for fantasy work, is also recommended.

Ah, governments. Where would we be without them?

28 comments to The New Zealand Government. Always Ready to Help.

  • Tim Sturm

    I think the industry was better off when it was illegal.

  • Lets watch government ruin another industry…

  • Inevitable I suppose – now that its legalised, they can charge “income tax” on the workers, VAT or GST on the services provided and Corporate Tax on the operators. Neat! Watch it, they’ll find a way to tax breathing next! Someones going to have to pay for all the extra civil servants who will be needed to inspect these premises, carry out the safety checks and collect the taxes!

  • A_t

    Tim, which part did you think was better? However much we may abhor the government sticking their noses (or anything else) in people’s business, surely the women concerned are better off if they’re in a legitimate position & don’t fear prosecution or loss of their job for reporting assaults etc.

    As for ‘ruining another industry’, if you think one that (at least here in London) runs off hard drug addiction, near-slavery of imported women & “taxation” by pimps is able to be much more ruined, i’d like to know how.

  • This is pretty much guaranteed to take the fun out of sex. I suppose it’s better than what they are doing to tobacco and booze. It’s only a matter of time until OSHA here in the ‘States (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) issues standards concerning permissible sexual positions for prostitutes – gotta keep that workplace safe, you know. I wonder about regulating the rates under the wage and hours laws?

    Anybody else see an inversion of traditional values in how the left treats our hobbies? Heterosexual marriage and monogamy is declasse; but if you are gay and want to get married, or if you want to hang out with prostitutes, the left is all about that. In fact, here, have a manual to help you with your sex life with the hookers. I don’t have a problem with people engaging in prostitution, but state sanctioned sex… eeeeeiiiiiuuuww.

    The left is dead set against tobacco smoke. It kills. It Kills! IT KILLS! I tell you… But in favor of pot smoking. Huh? At the same time, the left hates booze. But if you want to use heroin or crack – especially if you are a member of the right minority group – well then, rock on.

    Hmmm… I’m having trouble figuring out whether this is the result of some adherence to Gramscian ideals, or just an inevitable baby boomer rebellion against what daddy and mommy did. Maybe it’s a little of both.

  • A_t

    ” I’m having trouble figuring out whether this is the result of some adherence to Gramscian ideals, or just an inevitable baby boomer rebellion against what daddy and mommy did. Maybe it’s a little of both.”

    & it couldn’t just be harm-reduction without being constrained by 2,000 years of judeo-christian sexual repression, could it? Would you prefer that the state arrested people for homosexual acts or selling sexual access to their own bodies? Would that be more acceptably ‘libertarian’ to you?

    & your demon “the left” is actually a collection of hoary old authoritarians from both sides of the notional ‘left’ & ‘right’ political spectrum. There are left-wingers interested in personal freedom & there are right-wingers who would like nothing better than to restrict what most of us do to a narrow set of ‘acceptable’ behaviours. There are certainly many on the left who are arguing strongly against any smoking ban.

    Oh, & further, outside of your paranoid mind, who exactly on this demon ‘left’ is saying it’s ok for people to smoke crack provided they’re black?

  • Tim Sturm

    From what I recall some prostitutes in NZ opposed legalisation for precisely the reason that this type of burden would be foisted upon them (not to mention taxes, etc), thereby reducing their returns and putting some of them out of work altogether.

    Although my comment was intended to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the point is valid: faced with the choice between one gang of thugs on the street and another gang of thugs in Parliament, who’s to say which is worse?

  • toolkien

    How about the government remain disinterested entirely unless coercive force is used? If it is voluntary, then the State is out of it altogether; no sanction, complete or partial.

    What good does it do decriminalize behavior only to partially recriminalize it through regulation? Simply put, banning of a behavior has its roots in regarding something is bad up to a point, but deciding we’re (meaning the State) not going to go to the trouble of splitting hairs, so the whole subset is verbotten (except for a privy few, again, meaning the State/its functionaries – madams are fine, street whores are not). Decriminalizing a behavior then regulating the hell out of it still classifies the behavior as a State-interested behavior. Which, unless coercive force is used, it certainly is not, at least in a truly free society.

  • D Anghelone

    Could be worse. In NYC you couldn’t top it off with a cigarette.

  • A_t

    Whooooah there…. Have the government actually issued any directives on what prostitutes may or may not do?

    From the article, the only thing they’ve done is sent out this brochure, explaining how people can do the job more safely. As far as I can tell, they’re free to ignore the advice if they wish. Exactly the same brochure could have been produced by an independent charity. Would you have any problem with it if such was it’s origin?

    Tim, “the point is valid: faced with the choice between one gang of thugs on the street and another gang of thugs in Parliament, who’s to say which is worse?”

    Hmm… have you read anything about pimping? Whilst I’m sure some pimps are ok, if you want to make the comparison with government, many of them are more akin to the Burmese government than any democratically elected body, no matter how petty & intrusive that body may get. So from this person’s perspective, that’s quite an easy question to answer.

    & as for “taking the fun out of sex”…well, firstly we’re only talking about paying sex. The fun was strictly one-sided in most of these transactions. From the other side, it was a business transaction. If that business transaction can be made safer (less likely to end up with the seller dead or injured, or for either party to end up with a disease), so much the better. As far as I can see it’ll only take the fun out of sex if you enjoy paying for sex & get most of the thrill out of it being illegal/illicit. If that’s the case, I’m sure one could always get a similar thrill by developing a crack habit or something if prostitution got legalized.

  • toolkien

    From the article, the only thing they’ve done is sent out this brochure, explaining how people can do the job more safely.

    You are right, relative to the article.

    Regardless, what business is it of the State to tax people and issue brochures? Also, to my mind, the borchures are simply the first step toward regulation. Once the State feels it’s their jurisdiction, they will be sure to fill the practice with endless rules and regulations. The brochures could simply be regarded as a manifesto of where they intend to, someday, install regulations.

    I’m sure the average professional has more knowledge, on average, than the State could hope to tell them. The notion that the State is the repository of Good information is to ascribe a function to it that does not exist. Once again, the State should be disinterested unless coercion is used.

  • Joseph

    Decriminalizing prostitution is a good, forward move, but regulation is backward.

    The state should only ask that the produce is fit for consumption, that is, not under age and disease free. Whatever contract a whore and punter agree should be left to them.

    We wouldn’t expect the state to regulate sex in our private bedroom, so why should this be any different? A prostitute would naturally maintain whatever standards are needed to proctect trade.

  • Daniel

    “what business is it of the State to tax people and issue brochures?”

    The business of the State in these transactions is to prevent the proprietors from being infected with an STD, so as to protect the customer and any other third parties with whom the customer might choose to have relations with (and so on).

    You can argue that the brochure is ineffective to solve the problem relative to its costs, but to claim that the State has no business at all regulating these transactions just goes to show why the Libertarian Party and the like get about as many votes as the Communist Party.

    Frankly, I’d take you one further and require compulsory testing for STDs and a licensing requirement. While it might take “the fun” out of the whole thing, I’ll wait to see how prinicpled you are when you get AIDS from someone who without your knowledge visited an unlicensed prostitute.

  • A_t

    Hmm… so Joseph, you’re effectively demanding regulation thru’ your “disease free” caveat, aren’t you? Hardly the hardcore libertarian position (tho’ i certainly believe some kind of ‘disease free’ certification would be good; it wouldn’t have to have anything to do with the govt… & those who wanted to take the risk with uncertified prostitutes would be free to do so).

    Meanwhile in toolkien’s world, his imaginings are reality. The fact that he thinks the government might do this is sufficient evidence that they will. As to ‘most professionals’ knowing the stuff, that may well be true, but for those few who don’t, it might prove useful; I know charities in the UK have produced similar brochures on preventing infection, suggesting there might be some need for such a thing. Certainly not every prostitute is a ‘seasoned professional’; there’s no course you can attend, & the girls who’re starting off are often not the best educated.

    I don’t see why taxing prostitutes is more odious than taxing lawyers or IT professionals, & what’s more, however great you may think the evil of taxation is, if it prevents taxation by people who will kill if denied their ‘taxes’, it surely must be the lesser of two evils.

    Although round here tax is considered theft, the majority opinion seems to be that some taxation is necessary & hence not a great evil. Dictating sexual positions or interfering in the bedroom on the other hand are not widely accepted, so I doubt they will happen any time soon in any democracy (but i could be wrong! the desire to be told what to do seems to be very strong in many people, & one must also look to some puritanical states of the US which theoretically outlaw certain types of sexual congress, though I doubt many of those laws are actively enforced.)

  • toolkien

    Meanwhile in toolkien’s world, his imaginings are reality. The fact that he thinks the government might do this is sufficient evidence that they will.

    I guess as a citizen of the US which has the most laws in the history of the world, I think I’m rather on the something. Don’t you?

    Yes, I must have a fevered imagination about State regulation. I guess all those sin taxes are a mere dream. I guess restrictions on everything from a to z are a figment of my imagination. So, to extend you the benefit of the doubt, I have never been to, or studied the regulatory burden of, New Zealand, so I can’t say, but if Europe, the US, and Australia are any indications, I think I can say with certainty that regulations will most certainly evolve, and what better place to start than the hit list contained the brochure.

    One just has to examine the pathogenic process of Statism to see that they don’t take the whole all at once. They soften up first. The level of State interference in private affairs now would not have been brooked even twenty years ago much less one hundred. The State first ‘suggests’ conduct, and when the desired effect isn’t gained, and bahaviors haven’t changed satisfactorially enough, they turn to Force. The State has been handing out food pyramid charts for years as a ‘public service’, now they’re actively attacking fundemental paradigms about food. Obesity programs are now in the offing. Will it be long before banning results? Just look at the track record of the attack on tobacco.

    And you haven’t fully addressed why the State has the license to tax to recondition the masses. If there is to be a State, it’s function is to protect life and property from coercive force, not the educator and insurer of last resort. Personally, and ideally, I don’t think there should be taxes for anything. But if the mass is bound and determined to have a State, I’ll be damned if I’ll casually accept the State as a meddler in my life and as invaliditor of my value system, as long as I extend the same courtesy toward others.

    Fishing around I found this. It is established from the start the there is to be “licensed brothels operating under strict health, safety and employment guidelines”. So there is already a framework of what is in Force, with the Holy Writ-ed brochure on top. Is it really in realm of fancy that that which is not already codified is in the form of ‘suggestions’, and once the statistics come a-rolling in won’t be converted to new regulations? Besides all that I have said, what else justifies the bureaucrat’s existence? If the State was merely a hodge-podge of unenforcable suggestions, nobody would pay heed. The pay-off is in Force. Statism expands to fill ‘the void’ with Force, again, not all at once, but with certainty they will take more and more.

    This is my alotment of three comments so I shant post anymore.

  • Rob Read

    Dodgy Punter: “I want to feel totally dominated, constrained, tied up and held back”

    Hooker “OK darlin’ ”

    …, ………,

    Hooker: “Next time just go to the tax office and say you want to be in business!”

  • toolkien

    Frankly, I’d take you one further and require compulsory testing for STDs and a licensing requirement. While it might take “the fun” out of the whole thing, I’ll wait to see how prinicpled you are when you get AIDS from someone who without your knowledge visited an unlicensed prostitute.

    Breaking my three comment seal:

    I just couldn’t let it pass.

    I’m not likely to get AIDS from anyone as I am involved in a monogomous relationship with a disease free person. I stick to the same ol’ Corn Flakes for a reason, so I don’t become ill. Perhaps if everyone practiced such logic, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But, alas, people will do as they please, and I am disinterested while they do. There are 6 billion people on this planet, a goodly portion of whom have entered, and will exit, without meaning a thing to me.

    What other people do, and contract, are their own business. Hasn’t that sunk in yet? The State isn’t a fairy duster sprinkling Goodness on the masses. The masses will do as they see fit regardless. But they should suffer the consequences of their behavior. The State is tilting with windmills if it thinks it is going to roll back the tide of behavior. All they do is criminalize behavior that does not directly harm life and property. They invade private action, based on private value systems, and with each Law drive the outlet of behavior into a black market, all in the name of Good. If you don’t think there will still be ‘free agents’ in the biz of prostitution, then I need to take some of what you are taking. All that will result is a higher priced, regulated product competing with a cheaper, unregulated, but still criminalized (not for the service itself, but that it is – gasp- unregulated), service, replete with all the AIDS one can conceive of. And the comparison between regulated and unregulated will never be precise, especially as long as extra costs in the form of sheaves of brochures on the Public dime are left out. Suffice it to say, people have been buying and selling sex for millenia, I’m not any more or any less afraid of contracting AIDS or any STD because of it.

    You can argue that the brochure is ineffective to solve the problem relative to its costs, but to claim that the State has no business at all regulating these transactions just goes to show why the Libertarian Party and the like get about as many votes as the Communist Party.

    As for the popularity of my opinion, I don’t care. The vast majority of the people in the world live under some form of superstition in conducting their lives. It doesn’t mean they’re right simply because they are the majority, it just means the Force of the majority feels justified in stepping on my neck with a jack-boot. If it were about majorities I would be some sort of Christian by now.

    If these sheep would simply look at the collective ledger of their national government (speaking in terms of the Western countries (i.e. OECD countries)) they would see that all that their superstitions have gotten them is a voluntary totalitarianism, the full impact which has been put off by deluding the mass that their ‘gains’ came without a cost. The cost has just been postponed. We’ll see just how enamored the average citizen is when the confiscation necessary to fulfull the ‘promises’ are implemented. Either that, or the promises become void. All the ‘popular’ modes of thinking have gotten us is an interdependence and system of tithes and alms (including brochures) in which the maximum of alms has been given and the tithes have yet to be collected. But this is rather off topic.

  • R C Dean

    Frankly, I’d take you one further and require compulsory testing for STDs and a licensing requirement.

    Thus re-creating black market prostitution and all of its ills.

    The business of the State in these transactions is to prevent the proprietors from being infected with an STD

    Perhaps the workers and their customers should protect themselves from infection?

  • Joseph

    Yes A_t, not a ‘hardcore libertarian position’, a lack of laws would lead to idiotarianism.

  • MarkN

    If it goes the way the US has gone, the NZ government will require warning labels to be posted on the brothel wall. I wonder what a “serving size” will be for sexual services.

  • I can’t believe that some posters actually believe that Government can do a good job of regulating sex industries. And that pimps are more violent than Government agents. How many people did pimps but behind bars at the point of a gun for smoking harmless vegetation last year? And isn’t the only real job of government to prevent anyone, including pimps, from using violence against anyone else? Does anyone not think an underground sex trade will exist along with the regulated trade, considering that the government will remain totally incompetent at restraining violence? The government as presently constructed is our enemy, not our benevolent old uncle.

  • This reminds me of New York State getting involved in off track betting. The state had to be the only bookie around not making money

  • Daniel

    RC Dean-

    Yes, you’d recreate a black market, but at the very least customers would have a reliable system to know who is clean and who isn’t.

    You probably respond by saying that competition should take care of that anyway. However, I’d say the stakes are too high to let the market sort things out. Let me explain, in the case of an ordinary product, for instance an automobile, the worst that happens if you buy a bad product from either an unscrupulous or negligent seller is the loss of money, for which there is a tort system and various consumer protection schemes that allow customers to seek restitution. On the other hand where the product is something that often comes along with highly contagious and often deadly diseases, a lawsuit can often be of little solace. Things get even more tricky when you add third parties who would often have difficulty finding out who was the source.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m the type who sees government regulation as something that is not to be taken lightly. However, here is one of those instances where you just need to suck it up (no pun intended) and go after more eggregious and less helpful government intervention.

  • Will (Shenzhen, China)

    “…and to carry a small torch in case they need to check clients for sexually transmitted diseases.”

    I’d nearly forgotten that’s another word for “flashlight” on your side of the Pond. Yikes!

  • A_t

    Daniel, your argument for regulation makes little sense, & your example is bizarre; if you buy a dodgy car, it cann kill you by falling apart as you’re doing 90 down the motorway; much quicker than any STD I can think of. Torts etc. are presumably of little solice if you’re paralysed or dead.

    & Robert, ” How many people did pimps but behind bars at the point of a gun for smoking harmless vegetation last year?” :) good point… and if you want to take the sum total of all their activities, i’d have a hard time defending govt. agents vs. pimps, because the govt’s remit is so much wider (at the same time, slimy as they are, i’d rather have our current politicos than iceberg slim or his modern equivalent in power)… but to prostitutes, who are under discussion here, I *strongly* doubt govt. agents will be anything like as harsh. The state only prescribes the death penalty in a few regions of the world, & under very specific circumstances. Pimps use a somewhat more arbitrary & cruel sentencing method.

    But to return to the cannabis example, surely by that logic, cannabis is better off illegal than legalized & regulated then? From a ‘smoker of harmless plants’ point of view, i would strongly dispute that.

  • A_T – currently, pro-criminal activists – um, excuse me, racial activists – in the U.S. argue that drug laws themselves are racist, because they result in the disproportionate incarceration of minorities, relative to the general population. Hence, the drug laws are racist and the subject of righteous left wing opprobrium.

    As for right wing attempts to regulate – actually, I’m pretty sure you won’t find many Republicans in the U.S. on board with regulating tobacco or booze – except to the extent they can tax it. How it goes in the UK, I don’t know – except to say that the Tories would never seriously enforce anti-prostitution laws; otherwise, who could they get to run their sex scandals?

  • A_t

    Al Maviva, do you agree with the current state of the drug laws then? I’m not entirely clear what point you’re making.

    On your side-point, I think without a doubt the current *application* of the drug laws in the US comes down disproportionately on poor blacks & somehow skims over rich white coke users (probably mainly because rich coke users don’t go out stealing etc; exposing the whole fallacy behind the drug laws… if drug users become problematic, you can arrest them for the problematic behaviour), but that hardly means the laws are racist, & is another matter entirely.

    TBH, i don’t give a damn whether they call them racist or not. My principal objection to the current drug laws is that someone presumes to dictate to me what I can & cannot do with my own body & mind. I find this patronising & highly irritating.

    If a majority of Republicans are against the regulation of alcohol & tobacco & yet for a regulation of drugs, how do they square this with any coherent set of principles? (oh! they’re politicians. I forgot for a moment)

    As for the UK, i suspect both sides of the political spectrum are packed full of pro-regulation/prohibition idiots when it comes to all sorts of fun. Sadly we clearly didn’t manage to pack off all the puritans to the new world.

  • Bruce Hoult

    Point of order: prostitution has been legal in NZ for several decades.

    What was legalized recently was:

    – running a brothel. In the past massage palour (etc) owners had to maintain plausible deniability about what actually happened there.

    – soliciting. Previously, while partaking of one of those massages it was legal for the customers to enquire about additional services, but illegal for the professional to suggest them.