Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Building labelled as NZ's first sex hotel

Hearing told it will be a monument to sexism and misogyny.

The brothel is planned for the former site of the Palace Hotel, which started to collapse in 2010 before the council ordered a demolition. Photo / Dean Purcell
The brothel is planned for the former site of the Palace Hotel, which started to collapse in 2010 before the council ordered a demolition. Photo / Dean Purcell

Opponents of the Chow Brothers' resource consent bid for a 15-storey brothel and hotel building in the Auckland CBD say it could become New Zealand's first sex hotel and a drawcard for overseas and out-of-town sex buyers.

At the hearing of the building consent application yesterday, Denise Ritchie, of the Stop Demand Foundation, said the size of the brothel was "news" to her.

Auckland Council planners had recommended approval for the building based on brothel activities being located over 1.5 floors, with 13 brothel rooms on the third floor and a brothel entertainment area on the ground mezzanine.

However, the Herald yesterday reported the architect saying accommodation for the brothel would be located on the third and fourth floors and the first and second floors were to be occupied by a strip club.

From the fifth to the eighth floor would be hotel rooms, then two levels of offices and on the 11th and 12th floors a bar.

Hearing commissioners' panel chairman David Kirkpatrick confirmed the plans earlier shown for the building showed only the third floor as a brothel and the fourth as for the hotel.

Ms Ritchie expressed concern that hotel rooms as non-permanent accommodation were defined by the council as including any services and amenities provided on site for the normal use of patrons.

"Given that there is a brothel and that's providing services, are we to take it that this is a sex-on-site hotel and, if so, is it fair that we see this as a commercial sex hotel as distinct from a hotel where you would have families coming to stay?"

Ms Ritchie said people might well suspect that occupants of the temporary accommodation could use the services of prostitutes on other levels.

Prostitution might go on in other city hotels on a one-on-one basis.

"But this is a stamp of approval, if this consent goes through.

"This will effectively become New Zealand's first sex hotel, if that is what it is."

Ms Ritchie said the design of the proposed building was overwhelmingly to cater for the sexual titillation and sexual demands of men.

She said that if consent was given, the foundation might lodge an appeal.

"We will be referring to this as a monument to sexism and misogyny and it will be hostile to an inclusive gender-equal community."

The brothel is a permitted activity in the Auckland District Plan as it falls within the definition of entertainment and gathering.

The resource consent is needed to erect a building only because one of the activities will be hotel accommodation.

Mr Kirkpatrick said the commissioners had no power to stipulate the uses of the building.

The district plan had no limit on the size of the brothel.

"If the applicants were owners of a 15-storey building, they could establish a brothel in it, as long as it was not in one of the precinct areas of the central area, without the need for a resource consent whatsoever."

The brothel is planned for the former site of the Palace Hotel, which started to collapse in 2010 before the council ordered its demolition.

- NZ Herald

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