Tauranga City Council’s special bylaw aimed at banning topless women riding through town on motorbikes was passed this week.
The changes to Tauranga’s Street Use and Public Places Bylaw were called for after promoter Steve Crow rode over the previous one when he brought the Boobs on Bikes parade to Tauranga in August 2011.
The Boobs on Bikes parade in Tauranga in August 2011.
Councillors attempted to stop the parade by denying a permit, but were unable to as under the old bylaw a parade could only be halted due to traffic management issues.
Claims that the parade is offensive are ineffectual because the New Zealand High Court has ruled that it is not an offence for a woman to bare her breasts in public.
The revamped section 19 of the bylaw still uses ‘offensive’ as a reason to ban a parade, but it has gone a step further.
Under the changes council can refuse permission if the parade gives rise to some form of public disorder, for example, whether viewed objectively it may have a reasonable likelihood of dissuading others from enjoying their right to use the public place by entering or remaining in it.
In other words, if the council staff think some people might want to stay away from the city while the parade goes past, or because of any other assembly in town, then that is a reason to ban it.
A parade can also now be banned if council reasonably believes the activity will unreasonably impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic access to or along any public place or to any shops or premises.
“We will probably end up in court anyway, but we will have some grounds,” says corporate solicitor Joanne Gread.