Wellington Calendar Girls sparks fears of strip club turf war

By Dan Parker

There are fears of a strip club turf war in Wellington as a new club plans to open and compete with others in the city’s entertainment district.

But now police have joined existing strip club operators in opposing the new entrant.

The finishing touches are being put on Calendar Girls, but its doors may never open to the public, because its liquor licence has been opposed and critics are growing in strength, voice and numbers.

“As a city, Wellington has to make a decision about what kind of face it wants to present to visitors that come here,” says Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson.

“I don’t think more strip clubs on Courtenay Place and Dixon Street is the kind of face we want.”

If Calendar Girls opens, that ‘face’ will include James Alan Samson.

In 2004, he was jailed for making and conspiring to supply P, then had a year added to his five year sentence for trying to bribe a witness.

He is the husband of Calendar Girls owner Jacqui Le Prou, as well as the man Mermaids owner Michael Chow alleges is really pulling the strings.

Chow has written to the District Licensing agency, opposing Calendar Girls liquor licence. He claims Samson has been stealing his girls, will ignite a strip club turf war and has a record of anti-competitive and criminal behaviour.

But Chow is no angel himself.

The brothel owner has been in trouble for the destruction of historic buildings.

But he has found an unlikely ally in the police, who are also opposing Calendar Girls liquor licence.

Wellington City Council is now looking at ways to prevent the Courtenay Place area from turning into a fully-fledged red light district.

It is looking to increase its powers to vet the tenants in so called “character areas”.

“Now I understand that the latest club that there seems to be some controversy about is just outside the character area, so while Courtenay Place itself has the character area in place, we might need to look at changing it,” says city councillor Stephanie Cook.

Regardless it will come too late to stop Calendar Girls – that challenge is now up to police.

3 News

source: newshub archive