Auckland Council accused of racist response to Northcote brothel complaint

An Auckland Council investigator allegedly said Asians "all look the same".
An Auckland Council investigator allegedly said Asians "all look the same". Photo credit: Getty

Auckland Council has been accused of giving a racist response to a resident who complained about a brothel operation, but the council says it never received the complaint. 

Northcote residents claim a brothel operation at the top of their cul-de-sac breaches "home occupation" brothel rules. No more than four people can work in the business, including no more than two that don't live there and the operation can only operate between 7am and 7pm.

A letter delivered anonymously to homes on the street says there could be up to eight sex workers working in the house, and  that the operation is running past 7pm, which prompted a council investigation, NZME reports

But a council investigator's alleged response to the complaints has caused outrage, after reportedly saying it would be impossible to identify how many worked at the business because the workers are Asian and "all look the same". 

Auckland Council's regulatory compliance manager Steve Pearce told Newshub the council has "not been made aware of any complaints about the conduct of our staff during these investigations, however we certainly do not condone behaviour of that nature". 

He said the council welcomes any concerns about staff. 

The council had received a "number of complaints" about the residential property being used as a brothel, Mr Pearce said. 

In June, council compliance investigators met with the tenants of the property and discussed the Auckland Unitary Plan rules that would need to be complied with - particularly the number of employees and hours of operation.

"Following our initial investigation, advertised hours for the business were changed and the business confirmed that they otherwise complied with the Unitary Plan requirements," said Mr Pearce. 

He said the council received further complaints in July and is currently investigating.