NZ strippers march for legal protections | Inquirer News

NZ strippers march for legal protections

/ 05:42 AM February 02, 2024

nz stripper

Photo: AFP

WELLINGTON—A group of New Zealand strippers took their fight for better employment rights to parliament on Thursday, demanding widespread reforms to the adult entertainment industry.

Brandishing placards that read “strippers rights are workers’ rights,” dozens of protesters calling themselves the “Fired Up Stilettos,” asked lawmakers for more legal protections.


Theory vs reality

Spokesperson Margot Embargot, using a pseudonym for safety reasons, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) the group wants tighter safeguards against predatory employers and the right to bargain collectively for better pay and conditions.


Strip club dancers in New Zealand are employed as independent contractors. In theory, they can decide when to dance and for how much money.

In reality, club owners often dictate the terms—deciding pay rates or dishing out fines when dancers ring in sick.

“Because there is no regulation around how the clubs are allowed to treat their workers, they exploit them massively,” the 24-year-old said.

“It makes us vulnerable. As workers, it allows us to be more easily manipulated, abused, and not taken seriously when we try to address these issues.”

She said the amount owners charge strippers for dancing in their clubs, in return for things like security, has roughly doubled to more than 50 percent of their earnings in recent years.

“The exploitation is getting worse and worse,” she added.


Early support

The group hopes their petition will eventually lead to new legislation. It already has some support in parliament.

“No one but exploitative employers wins when we have workers who are facing discretionary fines and recurring abuse from clients and employers,” Green Party lawmaker Ricardo Menendez March told AFP.

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The politician said that if successful, the new laws could protect the rights of other independent contractors in New Zealand, from Uber drivers to actors.

TAGS: New Zealand, strippers

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