Amanda Saxton at Stuff reports:
They look homeless, act homeless, and half of them actually are homeless.
But Phillip and the group’s kaumātua Sole Johnstone have houses to go home to each evening. While they call themselves ‘hustlers’, they could also be labelled professional beggars.
They could get an NCEA qualification for it!
So why, if he has a home and an income, does he wake up before sparrow’s fart in the middle of winter to beg on the streets?
The answer is simple: he’s doing what makes him happy. When asked how he’d rate his happiness out of 10, Phillip says he’s an 11 “easy”.
“Why would I stay home, doing nothing? I love this, I love being with my brothers, I love hustling, I love speaking with people.
“Why would we work, slaving 40 hours a week, when we can get $100 a pop sitting here? And I can get drunk at the same time.”
On a good day, Phillip makes about $100 begging. On an amazing day, $200 – that’s on top of his benefit and his partner’s salary.
He says he spends about $100 a day on beer and the odd bit of whiskey.
I await the academic study blaming this on some sports sponsorship.
Phillip says he’s proud of his lifestyle, but sombres when asked what his 13 kids and seven grandchildren think of it.
So proud of our welfare state.
Some of Phillip’s kids are currently homeless themselves, which he says “is their choice”.
I suspect his kids started life with a bleak outlet. I wish there was a simple solution to bad parents having tons of kids.
“I ask ‘what are you going to do with your life? Are you going to go to [Work and Income]? Are you going to do something positive?’ And they’re like, ‘aw nah. I just want to rest’.
Like their dad.