Strip clubs battle over liquor licences
The Chow brothers' Mermaids strip clubs and brothels have had a single objection registered to their Auckland liquor licences - by rival strip club Calendar Girls.
Adult entertainment entrepreneurs John and Michael Chow have applied for liquor licences at their two Mermaids and Splash Clubs in Gore St and at a newly opened site in Karangahape Rd through their companies, KR Entertainment and GS Entertainment.
An Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority hearing is under way in the Auckland District Court after an objection to the licences was raised by the Chows' competitors, Jacqui Le Prou and her Calendar Girls clubs.
Le Prou, supported in court by her partner, James Samson, is represented by lawyer Steven Rollo.
Calendar Girls moved to Auckland after the Christchurch earthquakes and Mermaids and Calendar Girls are now situated on opposite sides of Karangahape Rd.
The Chows' lawyer, Alistair Sherriff, told the authority that the brothers' applications were not opposed by the district licensing inspector, the police or the the medical officer of health but a single objection has been registered by Casino Bar No 2, Le Prou's company she co-owns with Christchurch man Aaron Greenwood.
Sherriff said the Chows had had eight businesses for more than 12 years and had experienced only one negative incident.
The Auckland licences were sought in longstanding adult entertainment areas and it would be a "great step backwards" to disagree with the police, district licensing inspector and medical officer of health and not grant the licences.
The Calendar Girls objection, if successful, would eliminate a trade competitor, he said.
Rollo said he planned to call 13 witnesses, but Judge John Hole prohibited publication of any evidence until the hearing was over.
The hearing is set down for three days.
Last year a spokeswoman for the Chow brothers said they were still planning to build a 15-storey Penthouse Club brothel complex opposite the SkyCity Casino, although construction work probably would not start before 2015.
Commissioners appointed by Auckland Council late last year granted resource consent for the development, which drew 200 objections.
The complex - including bars, restaurants, a strip club, brothel, hotel accommodation and offices - is to be built on the site left vacant by the Palace Hotel.
The historic hotel was demolished in 2010 for safety reasons when walls began cracking after excavation work started on the site.