The decriminalisation of brothels, escort agencies and soliciting, and the substitution of a minimal regulatory model created worldwide interest; New Zealand prostitution laws are now some of the most liberal in the world (see also Prostitution and the law).
Suffrage advocates countered that allowing women to vote would encourage policies which protected and nurtured families.
Prior to 2003, indoor prostitution in New Zealand was governed by the Massage Parlours Act 1978, which allowed brothels to operate in the guise of massage parlours.
Nevertheless, police continued to raid brothels, streets, and private residences of sex workers right up to the day before the Prostitution Reform Bill was passed by Parliament.
Along with food, water and timber, sex was one of the major commodities exchanged for European goods.
Women's suffrage was granted after about two decades of campaigning throughout New Zealand, by women who included Kate Sheppard and Mary Ann Müller.