Tauranga city councillors’ determination to prevent another Boobs on Bikes parade through the city is enshrined in clauses in the new draft Street Uses and Public Places Bylaw 2012 approved on Monday.
The proposed clauses 19.1 – 19.5 of the draft bylaw now requires paraders to obtain written permission from the council if the parade or assembly is going to impede traffic, cause a public nuisance, endanger public health or safety, or be offensive.
Last year’s Boobs on Bikes parade caused protests in the CBD.
The council was unable to stop topless women riding through Tauranga streets last year because under the New Zealand Bill of Rights and in line with a previous High Court decision, a woman baring her breasts in public is not legally offensive.
Clause 19.5 of the draft bylaw is specifically drafted to require relevant Bill of Rights considerations to be to be taken into account when considering applications.
The council refused permission for the parade last year – two days before it went ahead, but with no effect. Sunlive estimated about 3000 people watched the parade, and about 40 people tried to stop it by carrying banners across a pedestrian crossing in front of the bikes, and also by attempting to string a chain across the road in front of the parade. There were no arrests.
Boobs on Bikes organiser Steve Crow says there’s no parade planned for Tauranga this year because they are focusing on Australia.
“The bottom line is it makes no difference to me whatsoever, they can draft what they like,” says Steve.
“There is still a Bill of Rights in New Zealand, and as far as I’m concerned it supersedes any petty little plans of councils to feather their own nests with whatever they want to do.”
The Erotica show which Boobs On Bikes publicised is on hold this year, says Steve
An event is not even planned for Auckland at present, though that might change.
“It was quite a logistical nightmare to be honest. It was just a headache to get everyone down there and all the way around. It meant bringing all the stars in a day earlier which was very expensive.
“I might do it just to thumb my nose at them.”