Begging for the essentials?

July 3rd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

could be banned throughout Auckland under a bylaw being drafted by the council – a move described as overdue by advocates and fascist by those targeted.

An initial draft of the bylaw banned asking for money, food, other items or soliciting donations “in a manner that may intimidate or cause a nuisance to any person”.

But after public feedback, commissioners appointed by the Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have recommended all begging be banned.

The total ban was sought by business associations, including Heart of the City, and an upmarket department store, which said a hard core of beggars intimidated shoppers.

“We have too many examples of behaviour being defended under the guise of exercising a public right to occupy public spaces,” said Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney.

NZ has a generous welfare system. We provide benefits, family and child support and accommodation assistance. There is no need for anyone to be begging. The few who do, tend to have issues of addiction or worse.

Simon Robinson, begging for money on Queen St yesterday, said he did so for about three hours a day, and felt he had the right to do so.

The 43-year-old, who began begging five years ago after his debts got on top of him and lives in a boarding house in Mt Eden, said banning begging was a “bit fascist” and “stepping towards a police state”.

“I used to shoplift, so it’s either that to get food, or sit there begging and not being a nuisance, and as soon as someone gives me $20 to get a decent meal and a couple of cans of beer, I’m off.”

Need more be said.

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47 Responses to “Begging for the essentials?”

  1. Lance (2,704 comments) says:

    And for all those not experiencing the Auckland begging.
    It’s recently become friggin ridiculous as to how many of them are out there, and yes aggressive to a certain extent.
    Not just in the city centre but across the suburbs shopping centres as well.

    There is a guy at our local shops who sits there and weaves flax into flowers etc to sell to passers by, I have no problem with the likes of him. It’s just sit on their arse beggars that annoy me.

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  2. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    I used to shoplift, so it’s either that to get food, or sit there begging…

    Yes, those are the only choices.

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  3. unaha-closp (1,179 comments) says:

    The rates rise to enforce this new council power will be so small we’ll hardly notice.

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  4. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    :lol: LOL, yeah I enjoy a beer before dinner some nights too. I have to get up reasonably early in the morning to earn it though!

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  5. Viking2 (11,541 comments) says:

    In the wonderful world of The national followers there are plenty of jobs out there and no one goes without a benefit.
    Well I know more skilled people out of work than anytime in the last few years. people who have worked right through until recent weeks. and they are struggling to replace their work.
    There are businesses s that are busy but others that are not.

    And then there are those that have had their benefits cut,

    Around town here,the anecdotal evidence is that burglaries have gone rocketing up as has car theft and theft from cars.

    Now one wonders how all this could happen in the National utopia?

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  6. Simon Lyall (60 comments) says:

    Some/Many people who give money to beggars believe that the homeless can’t get benefits because:

    (a) They don’t have a bank account and don’t have enough money to open one

    (b) They don’t have a fixed address which is required for a benefit.

    It would be great if Work and Income had explicit statements on their website as to the truth of these. I strongly suspect they aren’t but they are very commonly believed by well meaning people.

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  7. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    Absolutely DPF.

    This is New Zealand, you have to actually CHOOSE destitution here.

    I make a modest income, and before I’m even allowed to support my own young family, several hundred dollars of it gets taken out every week to fund a comprehensive social welfare network that would provide Mr Robinson with a roof over his head, and income, and medical care, if only he would be gracious enough to jump through a few hoops at WINZ in order to get his free money.

    I’m proud to live in a country that makes a real effort to leave no-one in the gutter.

    So if you choose to dodge all that help, and make a bee-line for the gutter, well f**k you – have fun being dirt under decent people’s feet, it must actually be what you want from life.

    But please don’t then complain you should have some “right” to get in working people’s way and harrass them for yet more money. You have all the rights under the sun in this society. What you’re doing is failing to live up to even the most basic obligations.

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  8. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    There are a number of community organisations who will assist with the opening of bank accounts and obtaining benefits. Some will even run the bank account and pay out essential expenses such as rent and power.

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  9. kowtow (8,712 comments) says:

    What’s wrong with having your hand out for unearned goodies all the time?

    This government and the whole public service right down to local bodies ,schools etc seem to think it’s OK for a certain ethnic group to have it’s hand out almost perpetually.

    And in a progressive ,equality obsessed world we should all have equality of outcomes.

    Begging with menaces is a constitutional right in Aotearoa.The gummint says so.

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  10. Tauhei Notts (1,744 comments) says:

    The Jafas are bludging off the rest of New Zealand.
    As such they should feel right at home with bludging beggars.

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  11. Zapper (1,027 comments) says:

    Crikey, it’s always an eye opener to see people like Jeremy Sayer who commented on DPF’s Facebook share of this post. One can only assume he is so mind numbingly stupid that he has been brainwashed by the Green Party into believing what he says.

    An example:

    Jeremy Sayer: Well,Key and his lot are responsible for creating poverty.Then they kick them in the guts again and strip people of the right to live,which is a human rights issue.

    Jeremy Sayer: It is a human rights issue.The UN law clearly states that every-one has the right to live.This government only favour’s the rich and constantly hammer’s us with draconian laws and harsh taxes to pay its borrowing back.Have you had to resort to the system just to live?

    Anyone have any idea which draconian laws? The harsh taxes are so people don’t have to live on the street. What a moron.

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  12. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    It’s the beggars who sit on their arse with a sign board on their laps, asleep or catatonic, waiting for people with money to cross the street to give them free stuff that really get me.

    The complete absence of any effort whatsoever.

    At least the mad one who used to beat an old biscuit tin like a drum between Fort St & Shortland St was TRYING to be a busker… :neutral:

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  13. peterwn (3,295 comments) says:

    Begging used to be illegal- the charge was “… being a rogue and vagabond in that he solicited alms in a public place”.

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  14. thaksinsproposal (40 comments) says:

    Simon Lyall (July 3rd, 2013 at 12:27)
    it is certainly true that it is very difficult to deal with WINZ.
    I see Mr Farrar’s comments here as ill informed,
    I would love to hear about Farrar living for one year on the welfare system.
    I would follow him every day with video as he learned about real life down.
    I am in Thailand now, there are very few beggars.
    There are many people here who earn only 200 baht [$NZ 8] a day.
    If you follow them home they live under rusty shanty, and dreary clothes hanging outside ,
    20 demerit points for arrogance Farrar

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  15. Akaroa (577 comments) says:

    Street beggars should be rounded up, put into camps, and made to produce simple everyday items for general usage – place-mats and drinks coasters for example!

    (Just kidding actually!)

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  16. PaulL (6,035 comments) says:

    The unsaid bit here is the soliciting of donations. I really dislike random people wanting to stop me and talk about saving the whales or any of a thousand other causes. I call it sidewalk spam.

    When people clutter my mailbox with requests for things I didn’t ask for my policy is to ignore them – if nobody clicked on those e-mails, then nobody would bother to send them.

    Similarly, my policy is to never give a donation to someone who asks me in the street for one. If nobody gave them donations then they’d stop harassing people on the sidewalk.

    Having said all that, I’m not sure the answer is to ban it. There is a balance of rights here. I can understand banning harassment of people going about their lawful business – we’re weighing up the right of someone to get where they’re going without being bothered against someone else’s right to free speech and to ply their trade (even if their trade is begging). I’d come down on the side of not being bothered when it actually is in the harassment category.

    I’m not so sure on the tradeoff for simple begging. If they’re not grabbing you, stopping you or blocking traffic then they’re not harassing. So now we’re weighing the rights of some people to not have to see the poor / the beggars against the rights of the beggars to beg. I’m not sure that I’m in favour of the tradeoff that’s been suggested here – next we’ll be banning people having nose piercings or wearing clothes that middle class people don’t like, because their right to not have to see it outweighs people’s individual rights.

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  17. Akaroa (577 comments) says:

    Oh wow! I’ve just read thaksinproposal at 12.43.

    He says, and I quote, ” I am in Thailand now, there are very few beggars.”

    OK. “Very few” is a comparative term that may have many meanings.

    But!! When i lived in Thailand from 84 to 87 there was no shortage of beggars, believe you me!

    Quite apart from the buddhist monks who one often saw patrolling with begging bowl in hand.

    (I’m not knocking or rubbishing Thai beggars by the way – just thaksinproposal’s apparently rose coloured – “see-no-beggars” spectacles).

    Open thine eyes thaksinproposal!!

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  18. Aredhel777 (290 comments) says:

    I’m a university student. After applying for about 30 jobs and getting turned down for them all because I have never had experience before (including volunteering with Trade Aid, where I also got turned down for lack of experience) I turned to busking on the street with a musical instrument. If they ban me from using this as a means to support myself I’m going to be seriously pissed off.

    [DPF: Busking is very different to begging, in my eyes]

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  19. Rightandleft (668 comments) says:

    The beggars I’ve encountered in Auckland aren’t nearly as bad as the ones I used to run into in the US and Europe. I remember as a teen having beggars grab onto my arm and even follow me inside restaurants in downtown Boston. I never gave them a cent because even then I understood that they would just use the money to feed their addictions. I do pity them, especially those who are clearly mentally ill, but letting them beg like that is not a solution and encourages more and more aggressive begging such as I’ve seen elsewhere. The council should ban the practice.

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  20. PaulL (6,035 comments) says:

    @thaksinsproposal: not sure where you’re going here.

    Firstly, the benefits in NZ are enough that nobody need be short of food or housing. In fact, if you are a beneficiary and you can demonstrate that the benefit is not enough for you to get food or housing, you are entitled to a hardship grant. I think we’d all agree that it’s not easy to live on a benefit. But actually, it’s not easy to get out of bed and go to work every day either. I’m not sure that anybody (your chosen god, nor history, nor any politician) promised people that life should be easy.

    Back in the day, life was hard, and if you didn’t work or otherwise obtain income you died. We’ve come a long way since that time, but there is definitely not a guarantee that you can live a comfortable life by doing nothing – that just doesn’t exist and simply cannot exist.

    As for Thailand – your argument is that DPF is out of touch for suggesting that NZ, with one of the most generous welfare systems in the world, shouldn’t have beggars. Then you say that there are very few beggars in Thailand because people live on $8 per day in a shanty. What exactly is your point? That the more we give people in benefits the more they complain? Or that in Thailand people take more responsibility for their situation and get on with improving it instead of complaining?

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  21. BlairM (2,362 comments) says:

    NZ beggars are hilarious. Most of them are overweight. I’ve never seen an overweight beggar here in Texas. When you have time limited benefits, there is at least some excuse for panhandling, but in NZ you’re having a laugh.

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  22. gump (1,658 comments) says:

    We already have laws against nuisance behaviour and disorderly conduct. So I don’t see the need to bring in additional laws for street begging.

    I’d also ask the question – how does the council propose to punish a person who has no home, no income, and no assets? It would be considerably cheaper to give them shelter and three meals day than putting them into prison (readers of this blog will know that prison is extraordinarily expensive).

    In my experience, a large proportion of begging in NZ is related to untreated mental illness. It seems unlikely that these people will respond to any new laws.

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  23. PaulL (6,035 comments) says:

    Agree 100% gump – mental illness and substance abuse are the two largest drivers of begging / homelessness, and the two have a lot of correlation (i.e. mental illness and substance abuse tend to reinforce each other).

    Making illness illegal isn’t likely to work well. It may succeed in shifting the problem, but I’m not sure that’s what we’re really about – allowing the middle class to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

    Flipside, I’m also not sure it’s the job of those who work to support themselves to also have to support someone else’s substance abuse habit. I can feel sorry for them, but I’m not sure there’s an argument that we need to increase benefits so that there is enough money to both feed your habit and have a house. Especially because the reality is that those people’s habit is prioritised above their house – so actually they’ll just buy more drugs or alcohol and still not have a house.

    The only answer here is intervention, but I’m also not especially in favour of compulsorily treating people who are deemed “abnormal” by society. There are some ugly slippery slopes in that direction as well.

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  24. dime (10,086 comments) says:

    Dime hates beggars.

    There is nothing worse than coming out of a nice restaurant feeling absolutely stuffed. half full of piss. thinking – i wonder if there is an establishment that would let me lay down for an hour.. maybe get a quick shower, some loving… then, while youre googling which establishment youll visit you trip over one of these animals.

    oh and if you take to one with a stick the cops are all over you. it really does ruin an evening.

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  25. CJPhoto (227 comments) says:

    How will Greenpeace raise money if this is passed – they have the be the biggest group of people asking for money and causing nuisance.

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  26. Simon (757 comments) says:

    At least the beggers are honest compared with Greenslime hustling and peddling their lies. Move the multinational corporate beggers on before anyone else.

    “I am in Thailand now, there are very few beggars.
    There are many people here who earn only 200 baht [$NZ 8] a day.
    If you follow them home they live under rusty shanty, and dreary clothes hanging outside ,”

    If you follow them home! LOL. In Thailand you have got to stop drinking the water provided by the government its the free market supplied water the stuff you want drink.

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  27. davidp (3,587 comments) says:

    The last beggar I saw was begging for people to sign the previously-failed Green Party anti-asset sales petition. Sad really. She’s probably an addict, a $10 prostitute, or one of Clint’s minions like Hughes.

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  28. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    Your Greenpeace-supporting chick had something else on that night, Dime?

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  29. dime (10,086 comments) says:

    RRM – its been a while.

    Dime is surprisingly faithful! We actually stopped seeing each other for a while so i went to sydney and banged hookers. but we are back together again so now im behaving :)

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  30. freemark (610 comments) says:

    Aredhel777 (243) Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 12:51 pm
    I’m a university student. After applying for about 30 jobs and getting turned down for them…

    What are you studying Aredhel777?

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  31. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    Blanket Man had plenty of money I was in the line for the ATM behind him once…put it this way he was taking out a lot more money than I did!

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  32. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    [DPF: Busking is very different to begging, in my eyes]

    Not in mine.

    There is a blind halfwit beggar who has polluted ChCh central (first Cathedral Square, now the Restart Mall) for years with incessant wailing and squeaking of the “busking” kind.

    Because of him enjoyment of the central city is impossible and because of him I think ALL begging (except for the Buskers’ Festival) should be banned nation wide.

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  33. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    Aredhel777 (243) Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 12:51 pm
    I’m a university student. After applying for about 30 jobs and getting turned down for them

    Bugger. That 31st one, the one you went begging instead of applying for, was the job of a lifetime.

    Shame you missed out.

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  34. Aredhel777 (290 comments) says:

    What are you studying Aredhel777?

    Law. Which apparently doesn’t qualify me to stack library books or clean toilets. That would take experience.

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  35. Bad__Cat (141 comments) says:

    RRM (7,492) Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 12:30 pm
    Excellent post. My Post of the Year Award!

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  36. nasska (11,756 comments) says:

    ….”Which apparently doesn’t qualify me to stack library books or clean toilets”….

    You’re aiming too high…..to get your foot on the first step of the ladder, work in the consenting department of your local council. :)

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  37. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    Aredhel, what is your email address? I might have a few potential contacts for you (lawyer here)

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  38. SPC (5,748 comments) says:

    The USA is full of people so poorly paid they aggressively stand over you for tips.

    Those who lose their term limit welfare become dependent on homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Their only other options, theft, drug dealing and prostitution.

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  39. duggledog (1,575 comments) says:

    I prefer these people to the godless tax raisers in the IRD because at least they ask.

    They are part of the human story. You can’t stop them and you can’t help them. Just ‘there but for the grace of God go I’!

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  40. Manolo (14,018 comments) says:

    The parasites and losers complain: http://news.msn.co.nz/nationalnews/8684074/beggars-speak-out-against-proposed-ban

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  41. Viking2 (11,541 comments) says:

    NZ used to be a free country. That was until all you control freaks, freedom stoppers, whingers and maoners, socialists in general fron the nats back decided we must rule everything.
    As long as they don’t infringe on others rights and the donor is happy to donate then piss of and leave people be.

    You are not forced to contribute except by the fucking socialists who take your money via rates and taxes to discrimiate against people doing lawful money earning. Well that will be till those same useless socialists make it unlawful.

    Don’t any of you people ever think what’s happening here?

    And Manolo, they are not parasites, they are people earning a living in the way they chose. Entirely in acord with freedom and freedom of association. If they do not accept state charity why would you complain and even if they did so long why would you comlain. Its free enterprise.

    and you call yourself a libertarian?

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  42. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    That was until all you control freaks, freedom stoppers, whingers and maoners, socialists in general fron the nats back decided we must rule everything.

    Do you count yourself among such “whingers and maoners” grandpa? You are by far the biggest whinger on this blog.

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  43. Chi Hsu (101 comments) says:

    Aredhel777 (244) Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Law. Which apparently doesn’t qualify me to stack library books or clean toilets. That would take experience.

    Good to see another busking musician/future lawyer here. Flick me an e-mail (my details are on the Law Society registry) and I’ll shout you a coffee sometime. I can’t offer you work but I can give you some advice about job hunting based on my experience if you’re interested.

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  44. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    My favourite is one outside Smith and Caughys on Saturdays smoking , drinking a big fuck off coffee.

    It used to be anybody with guitar was a busker, (the Topp Twins were buskers) now its anyone with a hat.

    V2

    If I want to set up a stall and sell cakes in Queen street I need about 28 different licences. If these guys want to earn a quid begging get a fucking licence like everyone else. Shop keepers pay rent and tax .

    You’re very grumpy again, things alright at home then?

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  45. Honeybadger (226 comments) says:

    I will nearly always put something in the tin or whatever of a musical busker, the ones who annoy me are the likes of the SPCA, Greenpeace who actually harrass a person, or those who sit on their backsides and ask for ‘two bucks please’ as you walk past…..

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  46. Aredhel777 (290 comments) says:

    Aredhel, what is your email address? I might have a few potential contacts for you (lawyer here)

    My email is lfar022@outlook.com, if you’re serious.

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  47. Aredhel777 (290 comments) says:

    Good to see another busking musician/future lawyer here. Flick me an e-mail (my details are on the Law Society registry) and I’ll shout you a coffee sometime. I can’t offer you work but I can give you some advice about job hunting based on my experience if you’re interested.

    I’d take you up on the offer, but as far as I can see, the NZLS website only confirms that you’re a lawyer, it doesn’t provide contact details (only your firm name.)

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