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Last November, brothel-keeper Suzanne Carter was insistent that Club , her "massage parlour" at Greenwoods Corner in Epsom, was a mere seven months old. In submissions opposing Auckland City's new brothel and commercial sex premises bylaw, she went out of her way to emphasise that "the business I operate has absolutely no association with any previous business operated from this site, and chooses not to be discriminated against for any possible past activities at this site".
Less than a year later, it is a very different story. Her business partner Anthony Howard Grant is now seeking dispensation from the new bylaw for Club on the grounds that a brothel has been operating on the site for five years.
Because by proving a long history of on-site funny business, Club opens up the opportunity to seek an "existing use" dispensation from the stringent restrictions of the new bylaw, in its case the ban against operating within a residential zone or within m of a place of worship. Indeed the sudden rush by Auckland's "massage parlours" to prove a murky ancestry is like rich Americans trying to blue up their blood by buying obscure European aristocratic titles.
In recent weeks, the public notices in Auckland City's official City Scene have read like a parody of the court bulletin. The Pelican Club, Eden Tce - " brothel Flora's, Pitt St - "brothel Club , Epsom - "brothel Don't get me wrong, the law change was long overdue. However, the thought that Club is now trying to take advantage of years of law-flouting by its predecessors in a bid to survive in its residential setting seems unjust. Particularly to residential neighbours who have been crying "brothel" for the past decade and been ignored.
Three years ago I wrote how the neighbours were fighting expansion plans at Manukau Rd, then known as Casablanca, and that the battle went back a decade or more. Council files revealed how slack the bureaucrats had been going back at least a decade. A planner's note records a drainlayer's earthy aside that it was to be "a knocking shop".