According to Garner, banning beggars won’t work

Let’s ban begging from city streets and punish those well-meaning citizens who also want to help the poor.

It sounds like a dirty little secret of a police state, but no it’s just cheap and desperate local body antics from Wellington mayoral candidate Nicola Young and Auckland candidate Mark Thomas.

Never mind both their National Party links – this is their uninspiring handy work.

So I have a message for them: Good luck. It won’t work.Name one place where begging bans are effective? No-one can.

Even the latest $50,000 Wellington council report into begging says it’s hard to point to where any bans have been successful.

They looked seriously at this in Norway and most towns didn’t bother and the government ended up getting cold feet anyway. Imagine punishing someone for giving $10 to a beggar? Some activists would gladly go to jail to make a point.

Most cities I have been to around the world have beggars. I have seen more of them in Wellington, Auckland and Washington DC than anywhere else I have been. And it’s true Wellington has a growing issue.

But if you ban begging in the cities the beggars just move to the next road or corner. I have seen this in Auckland with the rise and rise of suburban beggars.

I now see them at my local shops. Last year I gave a guy called Michael $50, but I also encouraged him to go to Work and Income, sign up for the dole and get some help seeking a job.

It was part of the deal when I flicked him the cash. He was a polite bullshitter.

I saw him two weeks later – when he asked me for more money. I asked for his case manager’s name at Winz and his case number. He tried more lies on me and then admitted he hadn’t bothered going there.

Of course he hadn’t. I deal with professional bullshitters on a daily basis. This guy was an amateur.

I get Garner’s point that banning doesn’t do anything by itself.  We’ve banned smacking for example, and that’s not stopped the dreadful abuse and killing of children in this country.

But banning does empower police to remove nuisance beggars from shops and streets.  I’ve watched one work a drive-through asking for money as he went down the line of cars.

Once again, the secret lies in enforcement.  I’m with Garner that there will be absolutely no point in banning begging unless there is enforcement.

Taking them off the street and processing them through Winz on the other hand would be a good start. Let’s get them into the system, rather than walk past them and wait for Garner and his ilk to mete out social lessons that will validate his ego but actually does nothing for the person he deals with.

He gave $50 to someone on the basis they’d go to Winz.

It’s a free country but, I tell you what, if there are dumb marks (sorry, professional bullshit detectors) like Garner handing out $50 at a time, no wonder we have a problem with people harassing our women, children and elderly for money.

I was in Napier a while ago when I told a beggar I wasn’t going to give him anything. About a minute later, another one comes to my vehicle, bangs on the window, looks at me, and says “I just wanted to see what sort of c**t you were.”

Garner thinks that banning that doesn’t stop it, and he’s right. But doing nothing at all will simply make it a bigger problem.

He may be happy to hand out life lessons at $50 at a time. I’m not that comfortable with a New Zealand where elderly,  family and their children are harassed by these people. We don’t all have $50 to give away every time we are approached for money, nor do we have the skill or inclination to act like social workers.

Step one, ban it. Step two, get police to enforce removal. Step three, get them into the system and work on getting them off the street that way. Step four, if they are recidivists, then lock them up in a residential care facility.

I challenge Garner to tell me what’s wrong with that.

Banning is the first step to give powers to the police to remove them and drop them off at social agencies that are resourced, skilled and intended to deal with people like this.


– Stuff




THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Sundreamer

    Typical Garner. Moans on his radio show about how much child support he has to pay and then boasts about how generous he is to scum.

  • Jude

    I would have thought that if no one gave to beggars , they would give up and move on. I really do not understand the need to beg given our very generous welfare system.
    The beggars I have seen on Lambton Quay, when given money , race up to Burger King for food!
    I respect that there are people in genuine need but I do not believe those beggars are representative of them.

  • Misfit

    I agree, even in the regions it is growing, I just moved from Thames due to the state of the town being embedded with gang and state houses. The main street has its resident beggars, they sit on tables outside lunch bars and pounce on mostly tourists simply entering the store for lunch. Same beggars every week, same beggars you see later that night drinking or sniffing glue in the park, also the same beggars I see sat outside the library using free wifi on their smart phones, that $50 of garner would have got that guy high for days. A fool and their money are soon parted….

    • JustTinkering

      Garner certainly fits the profile but remember his story will change tomorrow too.

      • Gaynor

        Of course Duncan’s beggar wouldn’t tell him his case manager’s name . He wouldn’t want Duncan reporting his begging income.

  • Orca

    Well, he’s partly right, banning burglary hasn’t worked either, if you don’t enforce it, that is.

  • LabTested

    20 years ago when I was living in the UK there was a Newspaper article exposing how some beggars would turn up every morning in town – change into bad clothing, beg all day, then get changed into decent clothes to back to go home.

    I live in a part of Europe where we have Romani. Teenagers carry infants from cafe to cafe aggressively begging. There are now pregnant young mums who I knew as begging children from 15 years ago.

    Yet there is one bar/restaurant where every Friday night you can guarantee 15 fat Romani men spending up large. None of whom work.

    • SlightlyStrange

      Was talking about this with a workmate yesterday and she pointed out she regularly sees the local beggars in at McDonalds with smokes, fancy cellphones and nice clothes first thing in the morning – they don’t look that good on the street two hours later.

  • Alloytoo

    Simple solution, take the begger down to the local Winz office and dock their benefits by their estimate street takings, then take them down to IRD to declare their income for tax purposes.

  • RightofSingapore

    “Name one place where begging bans are effective? No-one can.”

  • Plantagenet

    There are already bylaws available, which councils decline to enforce, that could very much reduce this problem without putting in place an outright ban. I suspect also the police could do more but just decline not to, a familiar story these days. I’m glad that Garner has seen beggars all over the world and I’m glad he has a spare $50 to give to a beggar who fed him a line of BS. That’s just peachy for him. Some of the rest of us don’t have spare money and we actually don’t like being harassed/verbally abused by shady looking, drugged up or drunk, intimidating people when we’re just quietly going about our day. Call me old fashioned Mr Garner, but I fail to see why we should have to put up with it.

  • WBC

    Sorry, off the topic of beggers but on the topic of Garner.

    “I deal with professional bullshitters on a daily basis. This guy was an amateur.” Of course you do Garner, you deal with yourself every day.

    It is easy to see through Garners lies though, listen to his crusades and you will always notice the following. If he demands answers of the TV screen, the radio or the paper without actually asking someone able to give them then he knows the answers and he knows they do not back his narrative. This happens a lot, unlike most media storytellers these days, he does actually tend to know the facts, he just doesn’t care about them. He will never “technically” lie but he will almost always misrepresent the facts to suit whatever narrative he has made up and simply rewords his lies into questions which he then ensures are never answered.

    Calling him dishonest is lenient, calling him a callous self centered egotist who will happily cause pain for the very people he professes to assist is more accurate.

    Prove me wrong Duncan, be better.

  • Davo42

    If Garner thinks these vagrants aren’t already clipping the WINZ ticket he is seriously naieve. The ones that really get my goat are the so called bad luck backpackers – my solution is cancel visitor visa asap.

    • SlightlyStrange

      Who would you report them to? Does DIA deal with inbound visa applications? Could be worth reporting a handful, might scare some others off.

  • bevanjs

    Regarding ‘We’ve banned smacking for example’ – just to clear up a bug-bear. We didn’t did we? “We” removed it as a potential excuse for maiming or killing a child, i.e. the clarification shouldn’t actually have been necessary and has probably made zero difference in law. Public perception however …

  • Kevin

    “So I have a message for them: Good luck. It won’t work.Name one place where begging bans are effective? No-one can.”


  • elton_fred

    I don’t understand how they make much – there are probably less than 10 days a year when i have cash on me. Maybe others are different, but i always tell them, and windscreen washers etc sorry no cash.

  • Terence Hodgson

    Wellington gets all jumpy about beggars/homeless.

    First there was the suggestion that instead of giving money to beggars, you could put it into special collection pods sitting up on poles like old-school parking meters! That money would go to social agencies. It was pointed out that these would be vandalized within the minute of donation!

    Then there was the reporter from the DomPost who pretended to be a begger for a day and managed to amass $100. Well, we simply don’t know who is a beggar and who is doing a “social study”.

    Then there was “solidarity” with the homeless where the mayoress slept outside for a night: beautiful new sleeping bag and there was her hand just outside it sporting a wonderful diamond ring! A very lame work of grandstanding.

    Then we had newspaper headlines saying “Police WARN Wellington criminal beggars on their way here from Auckland”. I suppose, that means that when you see a beggar you should ring the police. After all, they’ve issued a warning!

    Wonder what’s next.