Auckland's first high-rise brothel could be a magnet for crime and drugs yet that is no reason to ban it because prostitution is legal.
So says the official Auckland Council report from lead senior planner Jennifer Valentine, who backed the application and rejected moral and religious opposition, raising the ire of Monsignor David Tonks, pastoral assistant to the Catholic Bishop Pat Dunn, who opposes the brothel.
"I'm seriously disappointed," he said, noting how the area drew families and tourists and wondering what message people would get from the massive brothel with giant lit display sign.
"These places are often associated with importing women for the sex trade and it's a tragedy," he said.
But Jennifer Valentine told how because activities within the proposed 15-level tower were permitted, she could not consider "moral or religious objections, nor potential increases in illegal activities such as crime and drug use".
She also acknowledged that of the 221 submissions opposing the development, 208 were because it will be a brothel.
The reform of prostitution that was enacted a number of years back by the Labour Government headed by Helen Clark legalised prostitution (by private member's bill) because many felt prostitutes needed protection. Except, they would have been better off making it illegal to hire a prostitute as well, in other words get the clients, rather than creating this situation where by brothels are springing up here, there and everywhere and there seems there is little that can be done because it's legal. Well, it can be made illegal again.
A few months ago, Christchurch residents asked to have a buffer zone put in place between large brothels and residential areas because of the massive disruption that brothels create.
"It's like having the red-light district of Manchester St on your driveway."
One woman, who did not want to be named, said she had bought a unit as a "nice family home", but "all of a sudden ... I'm too scared to even take my rubbish bins outside because there are people sitting in cars obviously waiting to come in".
She had had people come to her door trying to find the "full-fledged" brothel.
"They think they're above the law. I would say it's not a small owner-operated brothel, otherwise they wouldn't have had to put more bedrooms in there,'' she said..
"We're coming to you as a last resort to try to protect us ... I don't feel safe."
Another woman said the brothel had caused parking issues in the area throughout the day and night, even though the street was meant to have a 30-minute parking limit.
"The [house] values are going to go down. These are homes that are for people, for families, not [for] having these people that are being threatening," she said.
I would say that some time in the near future, there will be calls for the banning of prostitution altogether. Currently, the story I quoted a snippet from above will most likely culminate in the banning of brothels completely from most of Christchurch. Brothel owners would do well to take note of the growing annoyance of affected people and think about where this might head in the future.
Related links: No reason to ban high-rise brothel - report ~ New Zealand Herald
Call for 'buffer' between brothels and homes
Big brothels could be banned from suburbs