Sex industry likely to get boost from centre

NZ Herald 14 April 2012
The sex industry is looking forward to a big leg up from SkyCity’s proposed National Convention Centre and the thousands of free-spending overseas conventioneers it would draw to Auckland. The Government is negotiating a deal that would see the casino operator build a $350 million 3500-capacity convention centre in return for legislative changes allowing it more poker machines and gaming tables and other regulatory concessions. Should it go ahead, the new convention centre is expected to draw an additional 22,000 overseas visitors to Auckland and boost tourism revenue by up to $85.4 million. Brian Le Gros, owner of Queen St’s Whitehouse strip club and massage parlour, said the additional overseas visitors and spending would be good all round for Auckland. “It’s hard to say whether I’m going to get any of them. If they don’t bring their wives, it probably will.”……

Catherine Healy of the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective said international conventions drew people away from their normal settings. “Normally when that happens people are more relaxed about hooking up with other people.” “The spectrum across restaurants, bars, all across the businesses that make up the adult entertainment arena, will benefit and part of that will be brothels that are nearby, for sure.” Research by the United States Centre for Problem Oriented Policing notes that street prostitution flourishes around convention centres and hotels, “especially when mostly male conventions are held”, and Ms Healy said sex workers were “a savvy bunch and if money’s being spent somewhere they engineer to be around”.