School chairman is rubbed up the wrong way in Radio NZ interview about house with a “Massage” sign outside

Alf questions whether a building can feel outrage, or any other emotion, come to think of it.

He raises the matter after reading (at Stuff) that a west Auckland intermediate school is outraged it can do nothing about a brothel which has opened across the road where parents drop off and pick up their children.

Actually, as further reading of the report makes clear, it’s the school board chairman who is outraged.

The same bloke seems to be easily outraged, because he became incensed when Radio NZ’s Sean Plunket – on Morning Report this morning – tried to find out what was outraging him.

He hung up on Plunket.

A pity. Alf was keen to learn more.

The Morning Report interview would have been triggered by reports like the one at Stuff that said:

The brothel in Lincoln Rd, Henderson, opened a fortnight ago directly opposite the Henderson Intermediate School and the school’s trust board chairman, Ron Crawford, said cars were already bringing clients day and night for sex sessions.

A busy brothel, apparently, if indeed that is what it is.

But Alf does not rule out that the building is simply a refuge for a gaggle of girls who enjoy living together, and the cars are simply bringing the fathers of the occupants to check on the well-being of their daughters.

Maybe. But this Crawford bloke is persisting with his belief that it is a knock shop.

The school has 500 students aged 10 to 12 who used the school’s front entrance directly across the road from the new brothel.

Mr Crawford said the board was not notified the brothel was opening and when they protested to Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, they were told there was little if anything they could do under new legislation allowing brothels to open.

Alf notes that the admirable Bob McCroskrie, again zealously battling to preserve decency, has added his voice to the brouhaha.

Christian lobby group Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said the opening of the brothel highlighted the flaws in the prostitution law and its failure to protect families.

“Most of us would not want to see brothels established in residential areas or adjacent to preschools or schools’.”

“It’s time for the Government to amend the law in the interests of families,” he said.

“To allow brothels next to a family home or sensitive site such as a school, playground or church is unacceptable. We already have accounts of home brothels where men willing to pay for sex are knocking on nearby homes trying to find the brothel.”

Alf wonders if this explains why the expression “knock shop” is sometimes applied to brothels.

As for Crawford, he says the school board of trustees will be discussing the brothel tonight and won’t give in without a fight.

Mr Crawford said they did not know who had opened the brothel and all he knew was that it was targeting Chinese clients.

So what gives the impression Chinese clients are being targeted?

Are the words “knock shop” boldly emblazoned on a sign in Mandarin or some such?

In that case only the school children who can read Mandarin would know the nature of the service being provided, and he suspects their numbers are few.

The disrupted Morning Report interview with Crawford provided something of an answer. It seems there is a sign in bright red that says “massage”, another on a door that says “red door”, and on one occasion there were balloons on the letterbox.

Alf is an innocent sort of bloke, as his mates will tell you, and he wonders why those words denote “brothel”.

On Radio NZ, Crawford also referred to hearsay about what goes on in the so-called brothel, but he would not repeat it, which Alf reckons makes him a bit of a spoil sport, because Alf loves hearsay. Gossip, too.

Above all, Alf wanted to know if fathers of the school children have been seen emerging from the “red door” and, if so, what they might have had to say went on inside.

He also wanted to know what exactly was the nature of any disruption to the running of the school.

It is a pity Crawford could not endure his interview with Plunket to explain these things.

Alf – who lives in a town bereft of brothels, so far as he knows – is hungry for insights into all social problems, wherever they be experienced.

He is not to know when the good citizens of Eketahuna North will depend on him to frustrate the setting up of similar establishments across the road from the local school.

Mind you, he reckons this is extremely unlikely. He recalls attempts to set up brothels in towns like Stratford and Dannevirke, both much bigger towns than Eketahuna, but neither was big enough to sustain houses of ill repute for long.

On the other hand, he was struck by Crawford’s observation that it is harder to own a dog in Hendeson than it is to open a brothel.

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