Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Sex in the city too noisy for neighbours

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Sex parties are attracting regular noise complaints from neighbours.

Auckland Council environmental control team manager Mervyn Chetty told the Herald on Sunday his officers were being called to noisy swinger parties by neighbours unaware of what was going on inside.

"They just hear loud music coming in from there but when the [noise control officers] get there and the door opens, it's some weird swingers' party. It's happening a couple of times a month."

Although noisy, the swingers were good to deal with, Chetty said. "We've never had any issues with them. They comply because they want us to go away."

The complaints were among 51,697 made to Auckland Council about noise last year.

However, noise control officers took action, including telling people to make less noise or removing equipment, in just 13,474 of those cases.

Complaints peaked in summer, spiking at 6170 in January and falling to 3150 in August.

The council did not break down complaints by suburb, instead dividing the city into north, south, west and central zones.

The highest number of complaints - 22,615 - were made in the central zone, where officers took action 5328 times.

However, anecdotally, Chetty understood many complaints were made in the suburb of Glen Innes. But that did not necessarily mean it was Auckland's noisiest suburb.

"We've got a few serial complainers there who complain about their neighbours - you might get 50 or 60 complaints for one street, but if you go there it's actually not a problem 90 per cent of the time."

More legitimate was the complaint made against a man last year who woke neighbours by mowing his lawn at 4am.

The man told noise control officers he was preparing the property for a funeral but they told him to stop.

The council took a pragmatic approach with complaints about do-it-yourself projects on Sundays.

In line with councils throughout the country, people could not make any construction noise on Sunday but officers dealt with complaints on a case-by-case basis, Chetty said.

A tougher stance was taken with commercial construction taking place on the traditional day of rest.

"We won't allow [noise to be made] seven days a week."

The number of complaints generally increased about 10 per cent a year, Chetty said.

"There's more infill housing and that sets up an ideal situation for noise complaints. I also think people are not so tolerant these days."

Complaints action
Auckland: 51,697/13,474
Thames-Coromandel: 537/234
Whangarei: 3756/1379
Hamilton: 9829/4142*

*To November 30, 2011.

- Herald on Sunday

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