$ 35,000 boob battle
A FAILED legal bid to stop the Boobs on Bikes parade has cost ratepayers more than $35,000.
Mayor John Banks says Auckland City Council’s unsuccessful court injunction was always an “exercise in futility”.
“Having said that, the legal precedent had to be set, once and for all,” he says.
Thousands turned out to see pornographer Steve Crow’s topless parade in Queen St on Wednesday afternoon.
A day earlier the Auckland District Court turned down the council’s application for an injunction, saying it couldn’t be stopped under a new bylaw restricting “offensive” events.
The council’s total legal costs for the bid were $35,564.
Mr Banks says a High Court appeal was ruled out because of the cost, and because it would be “doomed to failure” .
In his view, the council will now have no choice but to grant a permit next year.
“It seems to me the courts have a very different view on standards and values,” he says.
“There’s not one man on Queen St who could put his hand on his heart and say he’d like to see his mother on the back of a Harley Davidson dressed like that.”
Parade organiser Steve Crow says the council’s oppo- sition gives him more publicity every year.
“I must give Mr Banks a pay rise to thank him for it,” he says.
“Auckland is so up itself it really thinks it’s this international city, but forgets that cities like Rio, Sydney and New Orleans have mardi gras.”
Wednesday’s parade was preceded by a silent protest organised by the Women’s Centre and anti-pornography group Stop Demand Foundation.
About 50 protesters, in- cluding men and women, marched with a banner reading “Pornography fuels violence against women and children”.
They were greeted by jeers, boos and calls of “get your gear off” from the crowd that was mostly men.
Women’s Centre manager Leonie Morris says she hoped the public would hear everyone’s views. “This is our main street, where everyone should have the right to go without seeing women being treated as sex objects.
“We believe that this pa- rade is part of the mainstreaming and normalising of pornography.”
The protest was hastily granted a permit after Tuesday’s court decision.
Councillor Cathy Casey had earlier promised to lie down on Queen St to stop the parade.
But on Wednesday she wouldn’t comment on the plans, only saying she was taking part in a permitted protest.
Steve Crow had threatened to take a private prosecution against Dr Casey if she acted without a permit.
On Wednesday, most spectators said they didn’t see what all the fuss was about.
The parade featured about a dozen topless women riding motorbikes or in convertibles, one topless man and several fully-clothed drag queens.
“I’m not offended by it. If people are, they don’t need to be here,” said spectator Simon Humphries.
Jim Sutton, who rode a motorbike in the parade, said the controversy was undeserved.
“We do a lot of charity rides as well, but that never gets publicity.”
A 78-year-old Henderson man, who didn’t want to be named, said it probably shouldn’t be allowed.
But he came because it was “something to fill the day”.
Tell us what you think. Was $35,000 in an attempt to stop Boobs on Bikes money well spent? Email clletters@ snl.co.nz.
Porn king: Steve Crow talks to reporters before the start of the Boobs on Bikes parade.