Begging for the essentials?

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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