It's a sign of the times in South Auckland, New Zealand, where local prostitutes are being accused of destroying street signs by using them for pole dancing routines designed to attract customers.

In the last 18 months, more than 40 poles have been bent, buckled or broken in the past 18 months and the signs, which include notices of parking restrictions, cost taxpayers thousands of dollars to replace.

Elected officials such as Donna Lee say the culprits are local prostitutes who use them like stripper poles in a dance club.

"The poles are part of their soliciting equipment and they often snap them," she told The Telegraph. "Some of the prostitutes are big, strong people."

But some American pole dancers such as Wendy Traskos, founder of the U.S. Pole Dancing Federation, believe that New Zealand locals are being unfair to the sport of "urban pole dancing," an activity where practitioners take what they've learned in gyms or clubs and apply it to metal street signs, wooden stakes or scaffolds.

Traskos, who is working to promote pole dancing as a healthy activity, thinks that the problem may not be alleged prostitution, but the material being used on the signs.

"What exactly do they make their signs out of anyway in New Zealand? Tissue paper?" Traskos asked The Huffington Post. "This sounds crazy and maybe the city needs to rethink what they make signs out of, if a 125-plus pound woman is going do destroy it by doing acrobatics on it."

Kelly Blake, a pole dancing instructor in Sarasota, Fla., says "street pole dancing" is actually a good way to take away the strip bar stigma that is still associated with the sport.

"It's fun to do it at a busy intersection and get people to look at you and they don't look at you trashy," she told HuffPost last year.

"Charley" Crystal Harris, a pole dance instructor in Pontiac, Mich., warned would-be "street polers" that they could get some strange looks.

"It can go both ways," she said. "Some people will give you funny looks and assume we're strippers who just don't have a pole. But, really, we're just doing tricks. It's not like we're bringing music to the park."

Locals say the destroyed street signs from pole dancing prostitutes are just one sign that things need to change and have issued a tell-all report that the pole dancing street walkers are leaving behind drugs, feces and used condoms, Stuff.co.nz reported.

John Lee said he was forced to move from the Papatoetoe-Otara area 10 years ago when he saw a couple having sex against his fence in full view of his 10-year-old daughter, he told TVNZ.

Bernie Taylor, who lives in a neighborhood known as Hunter's Corner, says things have gotten worse.

"We had a parcel delivered to us recently and the address was 'Hooker's Corner' and it found its way to us with no problems whatsoever," Taylor told TVNZ.

Earlier on HuffPost:

GALLERY: STREET POLE DANCING IN COLOMBIA
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  • Colombian Women Go Pole Dancing In The Streets

    Some of Colombia's most accomplished pole dancers want to take the sport out of the strip clubs and into the streets by swinging, twirling and climbing up every street sign and scaffold available.

  • Colombian Women Go Pole Dancing In The Streets

    The women jockeying for pole position were contestants in Miss Pole Dance Medellin and Miss Pole Dance Colombia, both of which will be taking place in July. The ladies decided to stretch the boundaries of pole dancing in order to educate their fellow citizens that the sport is a great activity for keeping in shape.

  • Colombian Women Go Pole Dancing In The Streets

    Organizer Alejandra Santamaria says pole dance has still lots of room to grow in Colombia, mainly because the locals don't understand it. She says many Latin Americans still think it is related to striptease and have no clue about the challenge it represents.

  • Colombian Women Go Pole Dancing In The Streets

    But as difficult as pole dancing can be in a gym or stage with a shiny brass pole, the techniques are even more difficult when practiced on wooden stakes or metal street signs, according to Ingrid Tsai, Santamaria's partner in pole dance promotion.

  • Colombian Women Go Pole Dancing In The Streets

    "The hardest part in urban pole dancing is finding a structure with a good caliber," Tsai says. "Most dancing poles have a diameter of 1.75 to two inches." Apart from the caliber, she says the material in street structures can make the job harder. Dancing poles are made from stainless steel or brass, which facilitates the friction you need to have between your skin and the surface.

  • Colombian Women Go Pole Dancing In The Streets

    Wendy Traskos, the founder of the United States Pole Dance Federation, which is working to make pole dancing a recognized sport similar to ice skating, "street pole" is a spontaneous activity usually practiced by students after they have built up strength in their upper bodies.

  • Colombian Women Go Pole Dancing In The Streets

    Traskos warns that "street pole" is something that shouldn't be attempted without serious training and recommends checking out the pole or scaffold before attempting to dance on it.

  • Colombian Women Go Pole Dancing In The Streets

    Although the street pole dance campaign helped raise awareness about pole dancing, Tsai isn't sure if the street version will ever replace the indoor version. 'A dancing pole will never be replaced with a red light!' she laughed.