Pornographer Steve Crow was meant to be on the comeback trail.

Instead, it turned out to be a dead end road.

Just hours after the first Queen Street Boobs on Bikes parade in four years, Crow was told he would have to resign as a director of the company which organised the parade.

Then Herald inquiries revealed the parade wasn't even a formal parade - the motorbikes carrying topless porn stars pelted past thin crowds at 40km/h after stern warnings from police not to hold up traffic.

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By day's end it appeared a case of emperor's's new clothes and Crow seemed just a little, well, premature.

For years, Crow has been a controversial New Zealand figure. It was he who signed up a pregnant woman for a porn film called Ripe. He has 33 convictions for distributing objectionable material.

He was banned from running companies in 2010 after four went into liquidation. He was then convicted of breaching the ban, pleading guilty in 2011 for signing his name at the bottom of the documentation for that year's Boobs on Bikes.

But he had served his time, hadn't he?

"It's the return of Steve Crow," he declared to the Herald, just after his race down Queen Street.

"The (government) bowed to pressure from the conservative right. They got me banned from managing or promoting a business for four years. It cost me $6m and decimated my businesses."

He blames a Wellington man who runs a "public decency" charity.

The Herald has chosen not to name the man after police warned Crow over his behaviour towards him.

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"The ban is over and I'm back with a vengeance," says Crow.

Being back means Boobs on Bikes has returned after a four year absence from Auckland.

A model for Boobs on Bikes makes her way down Queen St. Photo / Greg Bowker
A model for Boobs on Bikes makes her way down Queen St. Photo / Greg Bowker

Auckland Council confirmed no application had been made for permits to have an actual parade while police told Crow to make sure "all participants obey the road rules and that there is minimal disruption to all other road users".

It explains why Crow's "parade" took about five minutes to go from the top of Queen Street to the bottom, where motorcyclists turned right onto Customs St and disappeared.

Crow acknowledges: "We didn't have a permit. We were told to keep to the speed limit and not to hold up traffic."

Road rules were largely obeyed - the dozens of part-naked women rode on the back of motorcycles wearing helmets.

Two women travelling topless in the back of a convertible earned tickets for not wearing seatbelts.

Still, it went "fantastically well", Crow reckons.

READ MORE: Boobs on Bikes fans 'need help'

"I was surprised at the turn out." More than the last couple of attempts, he reckoned, but nowhere near the peak of 2008 when the council took him to court to try and stop it.

Crow's businesses also include a pornography website, pornographic live cameras and - this is new - classified advertisements for prostitutes. He tweets mobile phone numbers for prostitutes and runs a website which hosts biographies and photographs of the women.

Also back is Crow's Erotica expo, with a new venue in Ellerslie to sell its cut-price sex toys and porn movies promoted by female porn actors and strippers.

A model for Boobs on Bikes makes her way down Queen St, Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker
A model for Boobs on Bikes makes her way down Queen St, Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

When talking about his business structures, Crow says "Erotica is a shadow of what it was".

He adds later they have an aerial act.

"They are strippers. They do a fire show. We're just working out if they can do that or not."

That was the whole point of Boobs on Bikes - it was a promotional stunt, a Crow-managed-and-organised three-day porno and sex toy extravaganza.

And then a spanner wedged itself in the works, which appeared to place the expo in jeopardy.

It turned out Crow hadn't served his time - a fact which emerged after Herald queries with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Steve Crow.
Steve Crow.

While banned in 2010 for four years, officials appeared not to have taken into account the legal repercussions of Crow's admitted breach a year later in May 2011. It triggered an automatic five year ban from that point.

A spokesman for MBIE said "unless he obtains leave from the Court, Mr Crow is prohibited until 25 May 2016 from being a director or promoter of, or ... being concerned or taking part in the management of a company".

A check of Companies Office records showed Crow had been appointed as a director of Grafton Marketing Ltd in April 2014.

"It is unclear if he was aware that as a consequence of his conviction he was automatically prohibited for a further period," said the spokesman.

"The Registrar (of Companies) will be contacting Mr Crow to remind him of his prohibition and requiring him to resign his directorship with immediate effect."

"I was blown away," Crow said, shortly after being told.

"I've told them I'm not going to do anything until after the (Erotica) show. I've got lots of money invested in the show this weekend. I'm proceeding as normal."

He says MBIE admitted he had not been told the ban was extended for his 2011 breach, to which her pleaded guilty.

"If I'd been told, I would have defended it."

He didn't mind the $5000 fine - the extra two years of not being able to do business was a harsh penalty.

Crow blames many of the woes to have struck his business on a Wellington man - someone who would write to the Companies Office and point out what was believed to be legal breaches.

"All because one guy laid 700 complaints," he says.

"He got me banned for four years and it cost me a fortune."

Crow's fury with the man is such that he travelled to Wellington, parked outside the man's house and took photographs of him.

He then set up a website dedicated to the man with derogatory comments - that he "loves porn" - and published his home address, phone numbers and images.

A letter sent from the police to Crow, which he confirms to have received, warned him of criminal harassment.

"Your actions are sufficient to have made (the man) fear for his own safety and the safety of his family."

Crow was told he faced arrest and possible imprisonment of up to two years if he continued.

"I'm going to lay a complaint with the IPCA (Independent Police Conduct Authority) about it." says Crow.

It's never easy being Steve Crow. "I'm an easy target. I'm a pornographer."

Would you have it any other way?

Steve Crow leads the Boobs on Bikes parade in 2010. Photo / NZPA
Steve Crow leads the Boobs on Bikes parade in 2010. Photo / NZPA

"There are times when it's annoying and it does get to me. There are many times I wished I hadn't gone into the industry over the years."

But here he is, selling sex. He laughs: "No one buys my products but I sell a s***load of it."

Everyone's at it, right?

Crow is dismissive of claims pornography is damaging to women. "Where's the proof? Nonsense."

Sure, he'll accept free and easy access to porn will skew teenage expectations of love and physical relationships.

"Banning porn is not going to work. Education is the answer."

But it hasn't harmed women. In fact, he says: "Girls who have done photo shoots have gone into bigger and better things."

Far from being problematic, Crow says porn could save entire world regions.

"I don't subscribe to the fact that pornography is harmful. A lack of pornography is harmful. Look at the Middle East - the most sexually repressed, f***ed up people in the world."

Norwegians, though, are pretty chilled out porn-watchers.

Anyway, what's the fuss about Boobs on Bikes anyway.

"They're breasts. They shouldn't be perceived as sexual objects. They're to feed a baby."

But you make a living selling pictures of them to people?

"I'm a businessman. If someone wants to look at them, I'll sell it to them."

Which he will, this weekend.

• This story was amended on October 15 to reflect the fact the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment supplied incorrect information to the Herald.
READ MORE: Porn baron back in business

The ministry initially said Crow was still banned from running companies because of his 2011 conviction.

The conviction, the ministry said, meant Crow was banned until 2016 and would have to resign from his current businesses. Crow was told the same thing.

The ministry subsequently said it got that wrong.

A spokesman told the Herald it had reviewed the legal position and Crow was okay to run businesses.

The new stance came after it "sought advice from the Auckland Crown Solicitor around the effect of Mr Crow's conviction".

"Following consideration of that advice the ministry has come to the view that Mr Crow's conviction did not, in fact, result in a five-year prohibition" under the relevant section of the Companies Act.

The spokesman said the ministry got it wrong because of the change in law since Crow's conviction in 2011.

Under the current law, Crow would have been banned for another five years. As it was then, he did not accrue another five years.

"We regret any confusion this has caused."