$ 35,000 boob bat­tle

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Porn king: Steve Crow talks to re­porters be­fore the start of the Boobs on Bikes pa­rade.

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