Brothel shut down
RESIDENTS in a Greenlane street are pleased to see a residential brothel being shut down, but there may be hundreds of similar businesses operating around Auckland.
The Auckland City Council has issued a notice of abatement to the Puriri Ave property after complaints from residents that it was operating as a brothel.
The council received an application from the premises to operate a health licence for doing therapeutic massage, but it was rejected after investigations by a licensing officer and an enforcement officer.
“The owners of the operation have since decided to vacate the premises,” says council environmental health team manager Carole Simpson.
There are 16 registered brothels in Auckland city, but the council only licenses large brothels, not ones that fall under the definition in the Prostitutes Reform Act of a small owner-operated brothel.
Such brothels must have no more than four sex workers at the premises and have to comply with the Resource Management Act and district plan to operate in a residential area.
“It is impossible to estimate how many are in operation across Auckland, but we suspect it is in the hundreds,” says Ms Simpson.
One Puriri Ave resident, who did not want to be named, says the premises has been operating since last October but neighbours didn’t realise what was happening until December.
She and others living nearby noticed the curtains were always drawn and taxis were arriving at all hours of the day and night.
“Everyone was up in arms,” she says.
The woman says an elderly neighbour was the first to notice the activity and was “spooked” by the clientele.
She complained to the council twice about the operation being run at the address.
“The district plan says what activities you can have. A brothel is a commercial activity and this is a residential street.”
She says the council has been supportive and everyone is happy to see the brothel go.
A spokesman for the business says it will be vacating the house but he is angry about the situation.
He says the council visited the property more than 10 times and he was told he could operate his business if he had the massage licence, which he applied for and was turned down.
“There are only three ladies living here. What can I do? I’m really angry. I’ve spent a lot of money renting here.”
He says reports of lots of taxis at the house are untrue because there are 11 carparks on site for customers.