Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Christchurch braced for rebuild bonking boom

Photo / Sarah Ivey
Photo / Sarah Ivey

Christchurch is gearing up for an influx of sex workers to capitalise on the city's rebuild.

The quake-ravaged city is expected to become inundated with prostitutes keen to cash in on the well-paid workers, many of which will be young, single men earning decent money.

The local sex industry is already booming, with massage parlours attributing the rise in trade to post-quake stress.

Parlours report a steady stream of construction and rebuild workers' custom already - many here from overseas on short to medium term contracts.

One observer noted that Christchurch could soon resemble a gold mining frontier town.

A spokesman for LA Girls massage parlour in the city said the boom has already begun.

He said: "Business is good at the moment, very good. But we're expecting it to get even busier. When the boom really kicks in, we'll have to bring in new staff to service the increased trade.

"People are already looking for something to relieve the stress after the earthquakes and also looking for solace and comfort.

"We're seeing quite a few from the construction industry already. A lot of the rebuild workers we've seen are from overseas, or the North Island - they're here on contracts for a period of time, a lot of them are single, they're cashed up, on good money, and a bit lonely.''

Paige Smith, owner of a "no sex'' nude and therapeutic massage business in the central city, is already a fan of post-quake building trade.

She said: "With more and more tradies, contractors, and engineers coming into Christchurch, we're getting them through the door and getting busier all the time. When the rebuild really gears up, we're hoping it will go off.''

Anna Reed of the Christchurch Prostitutes Collective said it's only natural for the sex industry to pick up, in line with the economy.

She said: "The larger brothels were really struggling for clientele before the earthquakes.

"I think the current trend in Christchurch is for clients to have a more intimate experience with somebody, and those big businesses were just not attractive.

"When the economy picks up, then so will the sex industry - the two usually go hand in hand.''

But the spike in sex business also brings fears for police and the general public.

Resident near to the popular street prostitution zone on Manchester St are already worried about the workers venturing further north, across Bealey Ave, away from the red zone cordon, and nearer residential and family homes.

Complaints about noise and disorder from street prostitutes, their associates and clients led to police arresting 14 people in Christchurch last weekend.

Police said the operation on Manchester St was in response to residents' concerns about disorder in an area used by sex workers.

Acting Central Area commander Inspector Al Stewart said most of the people arrested had outstanding warrants, and some were charged over behavioural offences or dishonesty.

He said the operation was about combating disorderly behaviour rather than cracking down on prostitution.

"There is always an element attached to prostitution that causes public concern, whether it is their general activity itself or the behaviour of some of their minders or clients.

"While the services being offered on Manchester St are legal, some of the behaviour by associates of the prostitutes, which can be intimidating and offensive in nature, is not.''


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