Hamilton City councillors have voted nine to one against the Erotica Expo being held in the Claudelands Events Centre next year. Councillor Maria Westphal who chaired the strategy and policy meeting yesterday said ”It was a balance between losing the money and not upsetting a large portion of the community.” She said the expo did not match Hamilton’s “family friendly values”.
Councillor Ewan Wilson, who was alone in voting in favour of the expo, was “completely frustrated” with the decision. He said his “ultra conservative” co-councillors were “running very scared” after the V8′s debacle and were vote hunting. Wilson said no firm potential revenue was given for the two-to-three day event, but between $50,000 and $60,000 per year was the figure “bandied about” for what would have likely become an annual event.
The Erotica Expo’s promoters are still mulling over their options after obtaining legal advice that the councillors’ decision could be open to challenge through the courts. Spokesman David Crow said it was most definitely not the end of the road. He said the council had no authority under the Local Government Act to have made the decision on moral grounds, and “we have challenged and won against the Auckland City Council on a similar basis”.
The Claudelands Events Centre is facing a loss of up to $1.7 million in its first year, and a working group had been formed to reduce costs and increase custom.
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