Voices raised against city brothel

An artist's impression of the proposed high-rose 15-storey brothel. Photo / Supplied
An artist's impression of the proposed high-rose 15-storey brothel. Photo / Supplied

Church and heritage campaigners are urging the Auckland Council to reject plans for New Zealand's first high-rise brothel complex.

Auckland Catholic Bishop Patrick Dunn called for the council to examine policies allowing such activities in the city's heart, and heritage advocate Allan Matson said the plans made a joke of Auckland's high international ranking.

Mr Matson said the tower would be out of scale with its immediate neighbours, and wanted it rejected because the type of activities planned within it did not all comply with council rules in the district plan.

"It's a bit low-brow for the world's most liveable city," he said.

"I question whether such short-stay accommodation contributes positively to council's long-term vision of being the most liveable city in the world.

"From a heritage perspective, the proposal would appear to have more than a minor negative effect on the rest of buildings on that block along Victoria St."

Both were commenting after Wellington sex industry barons John and Michael Chow of Chow Group applied for consent to build a 15-level tower at 75 Victoria St West, opposite Sky Tower, on the site of the historic Palace Hotel.

The hotel building was demolished after renovation work undermined its structure and it began to collapse.

The Chows' application includes short-stay non-permanent accommodation which can be granted only at the council's discretion.

The Chows have also applied for consent for bars, food and beverage activities and entertainment in penthouse suites.

Catholic diocese spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer said the brothel would be a blight on the landscape.

"This is the wrong kind of activity in the city - 15 levels of sexual titivation and activity of one kind or another.

Bishop Dunn said: "Our city cannot expect to be a beautiful, family-friendly place when the council allows the proliferation of such dubious activities.

"We are seeing the development of a decidedly tacky culture."

At least 16 licensed brothels operate in central Auckland, but many more are thought to be run from apartments in the area.

"We see that financial advantage clearly outweighs the public good in decisions made by property developers and by our city fathers whose responsibility it is to promote the wellbeing of our citizens," he said.

A council spokesman said it had not been decided whether the Chows' application should be notified so all could have a say.

- NZ Herald

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