Jumpy city councillors appear unlikely to back a plan to bring a sex expo to Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena in March.
That’s despite the facility facing a loss of up to $1.7 million in its first year, and the recent formation of a working group to pare down its budgets and muster custom.
Expo promoters Esprit Events’ spokesman David Crow said there were misconceptions about the expo, which featured “everything from luxury cars through spa pools, candy, liquor, tattooists [and] holidays to adult products. Of course we also provide a range of entertainment, including adult, for both genders,” he said. [Espirit Events Ltd was incorporated on 10 November 2011 and is directed by John Malcolm Carr, business partner of Steve Crow, David Crow’s brother. It is owned by CVC Group Ltd which is also directed by John M Carr].
He [David Crow] expected up to 10,000 visitors at the R18 show and said the exhibition would also draw on local accommodation providers and suppliers during the course of a likely three day event.
Waikato Times readers prepared to venture an opinion online were largely unimpressed at the possibility of councillors turning down potential business on moral grounds.
Councillor Ewan Wilson was the only politician prepared to go on record who wasn’t either undecided, or most likely to vote against the event’s request to hire the arena.
“If the event is not breaking any law I don’t know if it’s our role to play `moral policeman’. We have a facility, and we shouldn’t be pre-determining what our ratepayers may or may not attend, if it’s within the legal bounds,” said Mr Wilson.
“Ultimately the consumer is the one who should choose whether they attend.”
Margaret Forsyth said the issue was a difficult one given Claudelands’ “business difficulties”, but she could support the event if it was more general in appeal than its name suggested, and the council could have some say over the way it was branded.
Maria Westphal said the issue had highlighted the lack of a policy guiding the types of events council wished to allow in the city’s venues, and councillors had to consider all the impacts – financial, moral and ethical – in deciding what sorts of events to allow.
Martin Gallagher said he didn’t support the event, but agreed that asking whether the city should be turning business away from Claudelands was a fair question.
Gordon Chesterman and Peter Bos weren’t prepared to comment before the council met.
Dave Macpherson is strongly opposed while Angela O’Leary and Mayor Julie Hardaker expressed significant reservations about the “fit” of the event with the image of the city