Begging pays

May 18th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Dave Burgess at the Dom Post went begging:

Powerful yet unexpected emotions struck me just minutes into my stint as a beggar. I was feeling like a low-life who would surely be ignored, abused or humiliated by passing pedestrians.

It didn’t help that the people walking past towered above as I sat forlornly on the ground. They were largely reduced to a mass of knees and feet but held the moral and physical high ground.

While depressing messages were crashing around in my head, the reality presenting itself was surprisingly uplifting.

People really cared and showed a huge amount of compassion and generosity to someone who had apparently hit rock bottom.

By caring people, I mainly mean women, of all ages and races. Over the combined four hours’ begging I received $126.20 from 32 people – but only five donations came from men.

The IRD said my begged money is considered a gift and does not attract tax. That is unlike street buskers, who are supposed to declare their earnings.

$126.20 over four hours is a very nice $31.55 an hour. And that is tax free. But with the donated food it comes to $164.70 or $41.18 an hour.

But if you compare it to pre-tax income, to see how much one would have to earn to receive the same amount in the hand, it equates to $60.01 an hour or an equivalent annual salary of $125,000 a year.

So maybe next time you see a beggar, you should ask him or her for a donation!

Work and Income deputy chief executive Patricia Reade says Wellington case managers have visited beggars on the street about 20 times over the past six months to find out if they need help.

“The majority of beggars have refused to speak to us and in fact only one person accepted an invitation to discuss their benefit entitlements.”

I’m impressed WINZ are proactive and regularly seek out beggars to see if they need help. The fact that almost none ever take up the offer of assistance confirms that their presence on the streets is not a matter of or necessity – but normally a reflection of mental health issues and/or addiction problems.

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37 Responses to “Begging pays”

  1. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Love it. Dom Post journo goes begging. Next career move perhaps? After all, ad revenue are falling …

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  2. Le Grande Fromage (145 comments) says:

    If he was the pathetic twat I saw on Lambton Quay the other week then he is lucky that he didn’t have to use his begging cash on some dental work. I really had an uncontollable urge to kick that sponging loser in the teeth.

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  3. RRM (9,784 comments) says:

    [Teh big ego-age]: “I really had an uncontollable urge to kick that sponging loser in the teeth.”[/quote]

    Nice attitude. Maybe I should kick you in the teeth for being an aggro prick, seems perfectly reasonable if we apply your own moral standards.

    Don’t like beggars? Don’t give them money, and pass right on by. Simple. Where’s all this hating taking you?

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  4. PaulL (5,947 comments) says:

    In other countries I give money to beggars. In NZ, never. My logic is that we have a pretty good safety net in NZ. Nobody has to beg, nobody has to live on the streets. Therefore, anyone who is begging is either in need of much more complex services than just money (and giving them money is presumably enabling their problems to continue rather than them getting the help they need), or is a fraud. Either way, not a good idea to give money.

    If I could make a gross generalisation, perhaps the reason that more women give than men is that more women are likely to have an emotional response (poor guy, I’ll give him money), and more men an intellectual response (whatever this guy needs, it isn’t money).

    I have a friend who regularly gives money to beggars. But he also often offers them something else – to take them to a shelter, to help them get a benefit, to get them some food. Those other offers are only rarely taken up.

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  5. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    Absolutely, couldn’t agree with you more David.

    We have a similar problem here in Auckland city, predominantly on Queen Street. The begger’s accept cash donations only, if you offer them a letter of support to the Salvation Army – they leave or curse you.

    If you offer them a job, they decline the offer or find excuses.

    The fact that WINZ officers are also being turned down is proof that these so-called ‘begger’s’ are after nothing more than cold cash to fund their alcohol and drug addictions.

    I will not be fooled.

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  6. backster (2,141 comments) says:


    “I’m impressed WINZ are proactive and regularly seek out beggars to see if they need help. ”

    Well that doesn’t impress me at all. Instead they should be checking that the beggar is not already receiving a handout of taxpayer money. It shows the department is overstaffed.

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  7. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    And the lesson we learn from this……

    DON’T GIVE TO BEGGERS

    I put them right up there next to the charities that have taken to the streets asking for money, they really piss me off.

    A friend of mine worked a short stint for a charity 10 months ago on the streets, if she had worked 12 months she would have taken home over 70K in commission!!
    BASTARDS

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  8. RRM (9,784 comments) says:

    HOLY SH*T

    Beggars turn down welfare because they prefer to generate their own income (by begging), and the Kiwiblog right still finds some way to be incensed. WTF?

    PaulL, Fale seem to think they know (or think the state services know) what beggars need better than the beggars themselves know. And yet I’M the one constantly being accused of being a “socialist”… :-P

    Strange days on Kiwiblog…

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  9. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    RRM,

    How can you be so certain that these ‘beggars’ aren’t already receiving welfare? You might be surprised at how many beggars consider the art of begging ‘undeclared secondary income’.

    :D

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  10. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    But if you compare it to pre-tax income, to see how much one would have to earn to receive the same amount in the hand, it equates to $60.01 an hour or an equivalent annual salary of $125,000 a year.

    Don’t know how to phrase this in economic-ese, but I suppose a new beggar people haven’t seen before would get a lot more attention than one who is a ‘regular’ somewhere, like those bloody Queen St ones!

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  11. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    Giving money to beggers is an emotional response that won’t help them in the long run. There’s no guarantee they won’t spend it on meths or junk, and you may in fact be financing their death.
    If you really care, give them food and clothing. If they really need it they’ll be happy, if not at least you know you’re not enabling them to do more harm to themselves.

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  12. RRM (9,784 comments) says:

    Fale –

    I can’t be certain of course; but if that’s a reasonable standard to apply, then how can I be so sure that YOU’RE not rorting social welfare too? Eh? EH? ( ;-) )

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  13. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    LOL

    Fair enough, fair enough…

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  14. bearhunter (853 comments) says:

    “DON’T GIVE TO BEGGERS

    I put them right up there next to the charities that have taken to the streets asking for money, they really piss me off.”

    Yeah, those RSA spongers with their poppies piss me off too…

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  15. Nigel (509 comments) says:

    From memory Bob Jones once wrote about a beggar, though I think it was in Europe & the beggar was doing very well.

    Personally I recall watching one in the Square in Milan, when no one was around she stood just fine, then as people arrived she’d hunch over & hobble real well, I got the strong impression she was doing quite well thank you.

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  16. starboard (2,522 comments) says:

    I once gave to a beggar in Thailand..he consisted of a head , a torso and one arm… his ” body ” was perched upon a skateboard. He sold single cigarettes to earn a living. I had a chat to him and he was generally happy with his lot.

    Phil whore thinks he’s got issues. Pfftt. Lazy motherfucker.

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  17. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    With 0% taxation why isn’t labour and the greens attacking these “rich pricks”?

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  18. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Interesting.
    Goes to show Men have more lojic than women who act emotionally.
    Men get it. Begging I mean.
    Practice it frequently we do.

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  19. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Over $30 hr tax free for begging… why do we have welfare.

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  20. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,870 comments) says:

    “….but normally a reflection of mental health issues and/or addiction problems.”

    Looks more like a wish for a $125k taxable income.

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  21. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    # bearhunter (680) Says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    “DON’T GIVE TO BEGGERS

    I put them right up there next to the charities that have taken to the streets asking for money, they really piss me off.”

    Yeah, those RSA spongers with their poppies piss me off too…

    You fucktard!!!
    They are not among the charities I was speaking…..
    I was talking about….
    GREENPEACE
    WASPA
    ETC

    I have no problem with any charitiy doing their once a year collection, but to many have collectors out daily and they get paid well for it.
    FUCKTARD

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  22. gravedodger (1,546 comments) says:

    I recall a chap who did the rounds of the refuse bins in Masterton on a daily round looking mainly for cans but other items of value to him. I have no idea of his status with welfare but after he died his estate included a significant quantity of fine china and top of the range tools, largly american in origin. From memory it took 3 auctions to clear the collection. I know he wasn’t a beggar in terms of the thread but my anecdote relates to what we see does not always accurately represent the facts.
    Mrs GD would never encourage begging as she believes charity begins at home, I am considering my options.

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  23. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    …. caring people, are mainly women, of all ages and races….

    stop welfare… and pay woman more.

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  24. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    @gravedodger….

    There was also an article recently I think from the UK, from memory (fading) a guy who was homeless and on welfare, when he died they discovered he had over 2 million pounds. For many years he would invest his money and nobody ever knew.
    I think I’d find myself a little flat if I had money like that invested….

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  25. bearhunter (853 comments) says:

    @ Michaels: OK, so it’s NOT “the charities that have taken to the streets asking for money” who are begging, just the ones you don’t like. Perhaps you should have made yourself clearer rather than simply making sweeping generalisations, you appalling little wankstain.

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  26. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    Wrong again bear….
    You are obviously very thick, so I will explain in 5 year old terms for you…..
    The charities I put alongside beggers are those that put sales people out on the street on a full time basis……

    The few that I stumble across daily are….

    Greenpeace [scum]
    WASPA or fucking whispa or whoever the fuck they are [scum]
    Paraplegics….. now this one I actually like but receive nothing from me anymore thanks to their daily street begging…. Infact they take it even worse and use the pity factor by putting people out there in wheelchairs and STILL pay them a commission!!!
    Southern Stars Charitible Trust…. These people use a different tactic and that’s the telephone. Their top 5 sales people earn $1500 + a week, all thanks to kind donations to help a particular chairity.

    So without racking my poor tired old brain all afternoon, there’s 4 off the top of my head that I see out there daily, one of whom I like [but get nothing from me anymore] and 3 that I don’t.
    FUCKTARD

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  27. Graeme Edgeler (3,282 comments) says:

    Summary Offences Act 1981, s 15:

    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.

    Just sayin’.

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  28. bearhunter (853 comments) says:

    @ Michaels: Sigh. Well why didn’t you make that clear in your first post instead of tarring all charitable street collections with your hatred brush? Or would that have been too hard for you?

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  29. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    bear……. [I say that very slowly to be sure you are listening......]
    I said…..

    I put them right up there next to the charities that have taken to the streets asking for money

    By that I meant the one’s out there daily…… NOT THE LIKES OF………..

    CANCER
    THE SALLIES
    THE BLIND etc….

    The day that these guys put people out there daily is the last day they would ever receive a penny from me.

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  30. bearhunter (853 comments) says:

    Clearly adding the word “DAILY” to your original post (in order to give a clear and precise meaning to your rant) WAS too hard. Never mind.

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  31. PaulL (5,947 comments) says:

    On the collectors on the street, the ones I dislike are the ones I call sidewalk spam. the ones that stop you, ask for a moment of your time, want you to fill in a direct debit form or give your credit card number. Like e-mail spam, they only do this because some people respond. And like e-mail spam, they are consuming my time for no benefit to me, without asking my permission, in the hope that some small percentage of people will give them money.

    I see no particular need to ban it, but I certainly would encourage people not to stop and talk to them – basically if we all don’t talk to them, the business model will no longer be economic. Just like if nobody clicked on those links to buy viagra, people would stop sending the bloody things out.

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  32. PaulL (5,947 comments) says:

    On beggars, RRM, I’m not suggesting that beggars should be forced to substitute my opinion of their needs for their own. That would indeed be socialism. I’m saying that my assessment is that my money wouldn’t be of any assistance to them, and therefore that there is no point in me giving them money. That isn’t socialism, that is me choosing to use my money wisely.

    On the topic of our safety net though, RRM, can you identify a class of people that have need to beg in the streets – i.e. cannot access from the safety net enough money to meet their basic needs, and those needs are not in some way linked to a mental illness, physical illness or addiction? I’m struggling to identify a situation, I’d be interested to know if you can think of one.

    Whilst the dole isn’t a large amount of money, it does provide enough to get accommodation, food and clothing. Any serious health issues are covered by the government – admittedly often badly, but my experience is that the more severe the issue, the better the service. Mental health issues are very poorly handled in NZ today, but I’m not sure that giving money is going to help with that. Addiction is also poorly handled, consequence of our decision to criminalise addiction instead of treating it as a health issue. Again, giving money isn’t going to help with that.

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  33. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Well the Dom Post ain’t doing the beggars any favours. Every want to be beggar and their dog will be hitting the streets after that little article. But in the end it will be all counter productive as the amount of beggars will be proportional to the amount of givers that are happy to give. I would suggest $120 a day would be quickly consigned to beggar folklore.

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  34. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    far better to be a rich dairy-farmer….’arranging’ yr income into a trust..so you ‘qualify’ for over a grand a month in working-for-(some)-families-welfare..eh..?

    (what was it you said/gloated..?

    ‘my family dosen’t need working for families…i just use it to pay tax..’..)

    that was what you said….wasn’t it bloody-hands-bob..?

    and really…beggars have more honesty..not to mention dignity..than the likes of you..

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  35. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    bear, if you had of read my very first reply to you, you would have seen the word DAILY!!!

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  36. tristanb (1,126 comments) says:

    Looking at the Dom Post guy’s clothes, they look very clean – they lack the multiple grubby layers and shit stains down the pants. He’s even wearing the same shoes as the guy stopping to help him!

    My worst beggars in Auckland:
    1. Fat cart man – recently hanging around the Victoria Park markets, with his stolen shopping trolley full of crap. He made a bed in an alcove outside the Nike shop, and frequently “washes” himself (getting toilet paper and water everywhere) in the public toilets at Victoria Park or the nearby New World.

    2. Shamed-looking guy with giant red beard – this guy walks up Queen Street to take a position each morning (I don’t think this one is homeless). He sits with a sign, and generally quite quiet. He can speak, I have seen him doing drug deals with white trash kids.

    3. Part-Maori guy with dot tattoo on cheek bone (where Uncle Bully had his star tattoo). The usual tactic of cardboard sign, baseball cap, and lazy demeanour.

    These last two seem to hang out at the lower end of Queen Street.

    4. Young guy (who for some reason I think is from Britain) sits on the steps outside a gym and draws pictures and begs. This guy probably makes a bit.

    5. The glue sniffers further up Queen Street (near Wakefield St). Drunk, high, abusive, spitting, monopolising the public benches and bus-stops.

    6. The short guy with the matted mass of hair (like a single oversized dreadlock).

    Auckland’s beggars seem to have no character. Wellington has Blanket Man, Dunedin has Speedy. All Auckland’s are completely unlikeable.

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  37. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    I often stop and chat with Blanket Man (Ben). He’s a nice enough chap and has a great memory for people and faces .. moreso when he’s in his tree rather than out of it. Someone mentioned upthread about beggars not taking food – Ben does, he quite likes McD’s.

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