I’m with Larry on this: get those bloody professional beggars off the streets Auckland!

Finally, two Auckland City councillors are stepping up to the plate to deal with the scourge of beggars in the city.

George Wood and Callum Penrose have declared war on the exponential rise of beggars across the city, in particular the CBD, and they want the Auckland council to revisit the current bylaw that is not working. They have the courage to pick this mess up. Pity the liberal hand-wringers in council didn’t have the same fortitude.

There is expected to be some resistance to the complete ban on begging that Wood and Penrose are proposing.

Mayor Len Brown and his deputy Penny Hulse have been missing in action on begging and allowed this terrible look to denigrate the city. Sadly, they are not alone in ignoring the issue.

Interestingly, most of the Auckland mayoral candidates don’t seem to bothered with the beggars either. They have scoffed at Sir Bob Jones’ pertinent point on the beggars.

Jones said, “The degrading spectacle of as many as 10, obese, circa 30-year old shameless Maori slobs lying against shop windows with a paper cup on lower Queen Street is a disgrace, the first mayoral candidate to promise a ban on begging will sail into office.”

It is highly irritating to have beggars in New Zealand.  Our welfare, government assistance, City Missions and charities are all highly capable and well resourced to provide solutions for all of these people.  The thing is that begging is a want, not a need.  And it’s off-putting, embarrassing and makes a lot of people feel unsafe. 

Not so Auckland mayoral candidates Victorian Crone and John Palino. They will not ban beggars. It’s the usual politically correct waffle from them – a coordinated response with police, social agencies, central government, community groups to develop a comprehensive plan for these sorts of issues, blah blah blah. The professional beggars can’t believe their luck… for now.

Of the other mayoral candidates, Mark Thomas has the gumption to ban them, Penny Bright, well, who cares – she should just pay her rates bill, and Phil Goff didn’t return calls, so we don’t know. Maybe it’s in the ‘too hard’ basket for Goff.

Why not just ban beggars? Why not ban giving to beggars? What the hell is so hard about banning beggars?

I’d expect this stance from Labour’s Future of Work volunteer Vic Crone, but what the hell Palino?  There are voters looking for clear direction, not PC waffle and hedging.


– Larry Williams, NZME,


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  • andrewo

    Both my wife and daughter have been abused and threatened by this scum

    • MaryLou

      There are high schools in the inner city, and it doesn’t make me happy that the kids have to walk past and be hassled every day on their way to school. Likewise the drunken and drugged slobs passed out in doorways. Ban the begging, but also bring back secure “homes” for mentally unstable people. Sticking them in the community and expecting them to cope has been a major backfire.

      • tjb

        Most of Aucklands homeless are mentally unwell and warrant care that doesnt exist.

        • johnandali

          I’d like to know who closed the mental hospitals down. The silence from the Labour ranks indicates that it was one of them.

          • MaryLou

            Nonetheless, they share equal blame – the result of this experiment has been apparent for quite some time. And there’s no moves yet to rectify it. I remember back at boarding school in the late 80’s having problems with a “community” house, where unstable residents lived together but had free range to come and go. Some dangerous situations certainly developed for the young girls there. It’s just the same now, nothing has changed.

      • kereru

        Cue the outcry that secure homes for unstable people was infringing their ‘rights’ to live in the community and the freedom to spend their dole money how they liked. Then there are others who would defend them as being ‘colourful’ characters that make the city vibrant, diverse and inclusive.

        • MaryLou

          Yes, you’re right, colourful is quite possibly the term they would use for human misery on display. What a way to live – even if it is a “choice”.

      • pirate vs ninja

        We have a couple down our way too. Nowhere for them to go, spend the day drifting around town, begging & harrassing shoppers. They are mentally unstable and unable to work productively. I think if you added up the cost of social housing, benefits and wasted police time, it would be far more sensible (and the caring thing to do) to create secure housing facilities nationwide for these people rather than abandoning them to the streets.

      • johnandali

        Absolutely right. If we can see the solution, how come the thousand Auckland City staff who “earn” over $100k per annum can’t see it? Is it because they’re all totally thick?

    • spanishbride

      I rarely go into Queen St but when I do I have been accosted not by genuine homeless people but by HUGE men and women who clearly get plenty to eat. The one I will never forget was a woman sitting on a bench outside a donut shop. I went in to the shop with my daughter and we bought one each. As I left the woman called out in a hostile aggressive tone, ” Give me half your donut.” She was twice my size and had no need of my donut. I was rude and ignored her as she had been rude to me. That didn’t stop her and she followed up with something like, ” Go on give me some I am hungry.” She had no shame and was continually calling out to people. I thought that with the hide of a rhino she should be working in sales.

  • Gazza

    Beggars, and Greenpeace

  • Crookednose

    There are beggars, then there are BEGGARS. I went to Vancouver a couple of years ago. Those that had their hands out were really on the bones of their arse. Literally ropes holding up their pants, the full ‘stereotype’. People had sympathy and the general public stance was to buy them some food or a big gulp drink than give money. The way their faces lit up when people gave them food and simply sat down with them for a chat was humanity at its best.

    However, beggars in New Zealand tend to be ‘youfs’ with hoodie, baggy jeans and $300 Nikes. That type of beggar can bugger off!

    • If you watch them long enough, the cell phone will come out.

      • Boss Hogg

        I have and you are correct as well as the improvised bong and a few RTD’s. Plenty of smokes as well.

    • dennis

      Vancouver’s welfare services are equal to if not superior to NZ. Why do they have beggars?.

      • Crowgirl

        I think it’s drugs – I’ve seen semi affluent neighbourhoods bordering skid row type places there. Shops boarded up, derelict buildings, graffiti and shady looking people congregating on street corners right next to a block of restaurants with people wining and dining on the pavement outside. Vancouver is expensive, but they do have generous welfare provision and high taxes with a socialist provincial government. There’s still NO reason to be living on the streets unless you have mental health and/or addiction issues, and even then there are places you can go for help.

  • intelligentes candida diva

    I saw the news item with the 22 year old female in Ak & I had the question is she in receipt of financial assistance if so she ought to be off the street, if not I get it it but also so would potential employers and I am confident one would give her a job.

    I agree with the post ‘….. welfare, government assistance, City Missions and charities are all highly capable and well resourced to provide solutions for all of these people…’ and they do.

    Overseas I have experienced all sorts > Venice & Paris con scammers and London & San Francisco genuine beggars.

    • Boss Hogg

      Don’t be convinced by the “genuine” beggar. In some cites the begging spaces are pimped by low life thugs. The beggars pay the pimps to have access to the begging space. I witnessed this in Jakarta many years ago as an example. A woman was begging on an overhead walk way with a baby. The next day I crossed the same bridge and she was begging with a different baby – they borrow babies to beg with as well. Never give them money!! The locals I was working with explained the system and details to me.

      • Spiker

        Similar in London. Romanian’s are right into it. The actual beggar you see gets very little of the takings.

        • johnandali

          And it’s sad to see the numbers of Burka-clad old women sitting on the pavement with their hands out.

  • Tony Norriss

    The solution to beggars is simple:

    Get them to sing, play an instrument, or do street magic. Then they are buskers, not beggars.

    • tjb

      If only.
      The ones in Auckland are extending themselves if they have a sign.

    • Lemuzz

      Better still send them to school to be educated so they can get a job.

    • NeverMindTheBoll

      I think they’ll need a Council licence to do that

  • InnerCityDweller

    Someone suggest to the Lefties to tax them. Tends to be their weapon/tool of choice for pretty much anything and everything else.

  • Disinfectant

    As they are beggars, they are hawking their trade to raise money for themselves.
    To Hawk you need a Hawkers Licence. If they can’t produce it, charge them.

  • rexabus

    Wait for the outcry if anyone goes near this problem from sue Bradford, a church or 2 ,the sallies etc claiming these people are driven to it by poverty brought about by the evil capitalist society Lucifer himself John Key has imposed on us

  • Isherman

    If only Auckland would go back and have a read of the 2013 Public Safety & Nuisance Bylaw…and then act on ensuring enforcement of it, no new law or bylaw is required as its already covered. Its an enforcement issue, end of.

    • johnandali

      But first of all, we need to construct mental hospitals to give these people treatment and shelter. If they’re simply tossed out of Queen Street, where do you think they’d go?

      • kereru

        We had mental hospitals a while ago. What happened to places like Carrington?

  • Boondecker

    Probably the main reason I no longer visit or enjoy the Queen Street and surrounding area. And just about all of these new wave faux-beggars begging have come about during Len Brown’s tenure as mayor. Allowing it to continue is disgusting and highly demeaning for those dong it.

  • Kevin

    One of the first things Giuliani did to clean up NYC was force out the beggars and panhandlers.. Of course you still see them there but they are very few considering the size of the city and they are genuine cases.

  • kayaker

    We recently looked at a very nice CBD fringe apartment with friends who are (were) considering purchase. Beautiful sunny morning – nice park-like setting, water features and pohutukawas in front of the building. Look out from the front balcony and there’s clothes hanging from a tree with a couple of bods asleep in sleeping bags under the tree, bottles of varying fill lying nearby. The agent was really frustrated, as are the owners – it’s affecting values and no-one wants to purchase. We were told the Council is just not interested in doing anything about it.

  • Usaywot

    I work in the city and have to pass these slobs regularly. Some even bring bean bags in. 90% of them are obese and one I saw had a large bottle of raspberry fizzy drink, a tube of Pringles and was smoking. Apparently shop keepers are not allowed to move them on so it must be frustrating for them. Who wants to climb over one of these to enter a shop? It is a disgrace to the city especially when we crow about tourism etc and Auckland is frequented by thousands on cruise ships most of whom walk up Queen St. A survey in England showed that many beggars make piles of money. Why do people give to them? That’s just encouraging them. Give your money to City Mission if you want to help.

    • Whitey

      Auckland’s beggars are clearly just the same as Wellington’s. Most of ours look like they’ve never missed a meal in their lives and plenty have smokes, new shoes etc. It is disgraceful. I think most people are learning as I never see anyone actually give beggars money here, but obviously they make enough for it to be worthwhile.

      • kereru

        From my visits to Wellington I get the impression that people there tend to grow fond of beggars such as blanket man. When I first saw him I found his appearance quite scary, half naked with long matted hair. In the UK street beggars, bag ladies and rubbish bin rummagers are seen as harmless and eccentric. But these are very different from fat slobs slumped in doorways, abusing and obstructing the public.

        • Whitey

          Blanket man was something of a special case. He was seen as harmless, much like the UK beggars you described. Despite his appearance and his obvious mental health issues, he was basically harmless and so people were sympathetic and got fond of him. But these days most beggars here are fat slobs slumped in doorways and people are beginning to see beggars as unsavoury freeloaders rather than colourful eccentrics.

    • johnandali

      When I was in Queen Street a few weeks ago, I decided to shout myself a McDonalds lunch. As I went in, a beggar near the door was just packing up, and he was a couple of people behind me in the queue waiting to be served.

  • Mav E Rick

    I know of employers desperately looking for truck drivers, painters, builders, plumbers, fork lift drivers etc etc. The slobs in Queen Street can get jobs if they want – they just need the attitude and desire to get off their fat lazy arses and go and do some paid work. They arent beggars. They are just lazy oafs looking for free hand outs. There is no need for them to be there. They are a scourge on society. Instead of giving them money, they should be given a kick in the backside. No sympathy from me – sorry about that.

    • kereru

      If I was an employer looking for workers I might not view ex-beggars with no work ethic favourably. I haven’t been up Queen Street in a while, but I never even look at beggars far less give to them. I’m embarrassed that overseas visitors have to run the gauntlet like this when we have a social welfare system to take care of their needs.

      In Cape Town they would even come and knock on the door. One day we happened to see a van further down the road which had dropped off half a dozen of them to do the rounds in our suburb. We found out that these people were ’employed’ to beg and were dropped off at various parts of the city during the day and the suburbs in the evening. It’s a racket – it might be worth investigating if the same thing is going on here.

      Edit: tidying up

  • Anthony

    Its not just the CBD. The corner of Pt Chev Countdown carpark is a favourite for a large woman who has a fetish for custard pies

  • SteveWrathall

    Do an “Outlook For Thursday”. Put some lettuce in their cup

  • Time For Accountability

    Dunedin has a couple.

    I always ask them if they have spent all the dole yet.

    In my opinion they are employed and should be chased up by the tax dept and their dole stopped.

  • Steve

    Begging has certainly become a “profession”. I was in Rome last year and the city was full of them. All with Iphones, Ipads and it seemed like shared children dressed as waifs

    • kereru

      In the Third World begging has always been a profession. In India it’s a fine art, even to the extent of deliberately maiming a baby so that it can be earning money begging when it’s older. It’s the same in Ghana where small boys will surround your parked car and offer to ‘protect’ it while you’re doing your shopping. A few coins will keep it safe. This is understandable in such counties, where people have to live by their wits, but in NZ it is feeding the problem of the mentally incapacitated, the alcoholic, the drug addict, and the bum lazy.

  • Plantagenet

    I hate going to Auckland CBD now, and avoid it at all costs, because of the beggars. A couple of the regulars are very sad characters, and harmless as far as I can tell, but the rest are scary, intimidating, foul mouthed crims who deliberately position themselves next to shop doorways and ATMs. God knows how some of those shops keep going with people like that driving away their customers. They’re the ones I feel sorry for. As for the Council, nothing will be done whilst left wingers control it. They are in favour of beggars and don’t care about businesspeople, especially the small ones, in the CBD.

  • Seriously?

    The ones I hate the most are those incessantly happy hippy clappers from Greenpeace with their silly clipboards and love for whales trying to raise funds for their eco-terrorist hemp-based environmental jehaid.

    Ban them.

    • Huia

      Do the Hare Krishna still chant their way up and down Queen st, they used to do that years ago. Made the street “colourful”.
      These beggars don’t make the street colourful, they are dirty, abusive, nasty, demanding and threatening.
      I have great sympathy for people who have fallen on hard times but there is no excuse what so ever to have beggars like this in NZ.
      Our welfare system pays well, housing is available and jobs are plentiful, forestry jobs for example, it just takes some self discipline and none of these jokers can pass the drug tests.)
      Presumably most of them have an address so they can get the benefit.
      I do firmly believe that when the mental hospitals were closed a lot of these folk were suddenly out in the big wide world and could not cope with that.
      So, would love to see the mental hospitals reopen with modern changes.
      Build small flats for them so they can have their independence instead of packing them into wards. Have staff on hand to aid and help where needed.
      I bet most of these beggars would disappear off the streets and the mentally impaired would be in a safer environment, so would the rest of us.
      The Council need to step up to the plate and deal with this nasty threatening problem as it is impinging on everyone elses rights, to be able to walk safely down a street without being accosted and abused is a basic human right and I really resent having to run the gauntlet of the unwashed and unstable..

      • AF

        You asked “Do the Hare Krishna still chant their way up and down Queen st, they used to do that years ago?”

        Yes they do. I usually see them about 4-4:30pm outside the Westpac in midtown – it is very colourful and entertaining.

  • Doc45

    Would making it an offence to give them anything – money, food etc while they are in a public place be a solution? Carting them away doesn’t work, they simply turn up again. Making it illegal doesn’t work either – they will not pay a fine. There are some who need proper attention because of a mental health issue but there are agencies who can handle that.

    • johnandali

      I am not sure of the actual figures, but I understand that a substantial proportion of prison inmates have mental health issues. And why are they in jail? It’s simply because somebody decided to close our mental hospitals. I would really like to know who that somebody was. And how did they get away with it? It’s time for our politicians to conduct a formal enquiry as to the welfare and treatment of people who have mental and psychiatric issues.

      • Digger

        The figure is probably 100%. Given how hard it is to get into prison you’d have to have some sort of mental defect to offend sufficiently to get a custodial sentence.

  • Usaywot

    Maybe ensuring they are only given kale and quinoa, not money, might fix the problem. It’s a sad state of affairs that I am now ashamed of a city I used to be proud of.

  • Whitey

    The solution needs to be nationwide, not just Auckland-specific. While I would have expected a better response from Palino, I don’t think local councils are the right people to solve the problem. WINZ are the people who should be dealing with beggars, because the best way to stop people begging would be to cut their dole.

    • AF

      I agree but (not that I’m negating everything you said) so often WINZ and other

      agencies (like women’s refuge) have criteria that certain people don’t meet – for instance those without ID and/or under-age etc. Whilst there are back-stops in place, some people are slipping through the cracks.

      • Whitey

        Good points there about the WINZ system.

        • johnandali

          Having worked in the prison system and have seen inmates’ files with the list of their aliases (up to 10 aliases per inmate), I wonder just how efficient Winz really is. Do they have any photographic imagery ID system? Or a finger-printing system? And if they don’t, I wonder just how many beneficiaries are making a very good living from using all their aliases.

          • Whitey

            I don’t know exactly what kinds of checks WINZ has in place, but I’d guess the answer is not many, and that a fair few people do collect multiple benefits.

  • Aucky

    Aside from business appointments held whenever possible at non-peak times I just don’t do the Auckland CBD any more. The beggars, the crime, the traffic, the endless earthworks & construction and the parking have turned it into a personal no-go area. We have also moved our business into the suburbs – modern technology no longer requires us to have a city location.

    Thanks Len Brown for your contribution in making “Auckland the world’s most liveable city.” Your words not mine.

  • Might I suggest a coordinated response with police, social agencies, central government, community groups AND a suitably fitted out fire truck.

    • Mine it,Drill it,Sell it.

      I was thinking about a suitably fitted out fire truck late year and earlier this year when we had some Green Slime sitting on our Parliament buildings in Wellington and some foreign Green invaded private property and sat in excrement in a tree.

      I left it as just a idea as I new who would be arrested but when I saw Russel Norman protesting and interrupting a private business meeting at Sky City that thought of a fire truck returned once more.

  • Mine it,Drill it,Sell it.

    You will not be able clean up down town Mogadishu until we have removed Brown and a least 50% on the current Councillors plus the unelected Maori representatives.The scum down town are only following the behavior of the all of the above ———–

    Monkey see Monkey do.

  • AF

    I regularly work in the city and here are my observations. I’m not a greeny or a lefty but please bear with me……

    The “beggars” appear at peak foot traffic times. They are there before work and at lunch time. Some are mysteriously absent (or maybe asleep) at 10-11am and other times when foot traffic is not so busy.

    There are some genuine beggars as well as professional beggars. There are also occasional tourists who are down on their luck. With the professional beggars, I think there are two types : those with mental health issues and those trying it on to make a living.

    But there are some people there with a genuine need. You can tell them (and smell them) versus the others. Focusing on these men (and women and even occasionally young girls)…….as others have said, some of these beggars are in need of mental health and/or drug rehabilitation services which simply don’t exist. I also suspect this is an unexpected outcome of Government policy over the years of pushing certain sectors of the population back into the community.

    Anyway, I don’t give the beggars money. I ask those who look genuine if they are hungry. I then offer to take them somewhere for a sit down meal. I take the opportunity to find out more about the individual and why they are on the streets. It is fascinating, but also very sad. Drugs and alcohol are a big issue, along with self-control.

    The other day one beggar who claimed he was “starving” refused my offer to buy him bacon and eggs at a cafe because “I don’t want to lose my spot”. I won’t offer to help him again….but I’m happy to provide an occasional hot meal, a drink and conversation to someone in genuine need. I hope someone would do it for a member of family if they ever fell on hard times……

    • KatB

      Good on you AF. Who knows what’s the best way to deal with this situation but at least you’re doing something. I need to take a leaf out of your book.

  • Hard1

    These vagrants can be arrested under a variety of laws……

    15/ Seeking donations by false pretence;
    Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $1,000 who solicits, gathers, or collects alms, subscriptions, or contributions by means of any false pretence.

    4/ Offensive behaviour or language;
    (1)Every person is liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000 who,—
    (a)in or within view of any public place, behaves in an offensive or disorderly manner; or
    (b)in any public place, addresses any words to any person intending to threaten, alarm, insult, or offend that person; or
    (c)in or within hearing of a public place,—
    (i)uses any threatening or insulting words and is reckless whether any person is alarmed or insulted by those words; or
    (ii)addresses any indecent or obscene words to any person.

    (2)Every person is liable to a fine not exceeding $500 who, in or within hearing of any public place, uses any indecent or obscene words.

    (3)In determining for the purposes of a prosecution under this section whether any words were indecent or obscene, the court shall have regard to all the circumstances pertaining at the material time, including whether the defendant had reasonable grounds for believing that the person to whom the words were addressed, or any person by whom they might be overheard, would not be offended.

    3/Disorderly behaviour;
    Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $2,000 who, in or within view of any public place, behaves, or incites or encourages any person to behave, in a riotous, offensive, threatening, insulting, or disorderly manner that is likely in the circumstances to cause violence against persons or property to start or continue.

    28/Being found in public place preparing to commit offence

    (1)Every person commits an offence who is found in any public place behaving in a manner from which it can reasonably be inferred that he is preparing to commit an imprisonable offence.
    (2)Every person who commits an offence against this section is liable—
    (a)to a fine not exceeding $2,000; or
    (b)for a second or subsequent offence within a period of 12 months, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $2,000.

    (3)In determining for the purposes of a prosecution under this section whether it can reasonably be inferred from anything proved to have been done by the defendant at the material time that he was preparing to commit an imprisonable offence, the court may have regard to his previous convictions of a similar nature (if any), and for that purpose evidence of any such conviction shall be admissible accordingly.

    Therefore these people can be legally arrested with the sufficient laws being in place.

  • Larry

    I know a fifteen year old girl with a guitar who can make $300+ in a day in a busy mall. I would bet that the beggars are making $100+ a day. That’s why they’re there. It’s very lucrative.

  • johnandali

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they were the same group that I saw standing in an upstairs doorway at Sky City a few weeks ago. If you believe that an ethnic sector of our community generally lives in poverty, take a few minutes off to visit Sky City during the day, and walk through the area that has all the slot machinesm and observe the people who are using them. I will say no more. All I can say is that my $20 that I put into a 1-cent machine lasted for about 15 minutes. And there weren’t many 1-cent machines. And people were shoving $20 notes into their machines like there was no tomorrow. Have a look for yourselves. And that might help explain why there are so many beggars and others who can’t even afford to feed their children. If we’re going to ban beggars, we need to cast the net a bit further as well and ban beneficiaries from gambling at any level.

  • Chris Fleming

    Always found a Cattle prod very useful for getting things moving.

  • pisces8284 .

    They are all using the same collection buckets (milk shake tubs) so they are definitely co-ordinated. They don’t even do anything to earn the money (like playing music) just lay across the footpath holding out their pots. More fools the ones who give them anything