|Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris
I vividly recall the first time I saw a beggar. I was eight-years-old and on a family trip to Sydney. I saw a man sitting in a doorway asking for money. I was shocked because I’d never seen anything like this growing up in Tauranga. Sadly, my eldest is now the same age and we see rough sleepers and beggars whenever we come into town.
You may have read about council proposing a bylaw to ‘ban’ both begging and rough sleeping. I’m sceptical - while it might look tough, there are real questions about why the council isn’t enforcing its existing bylaw around solicitation. Would issuing a fine up to $500 to someone sleeping who can’t afford a home really help? Would it even be legal to do so?
We need to be very careful of unintended consequences. If we can adopt a bylaw - and it works - it may just shift homelessness from the city where people work to parks and playgrounds in the suburbs where people live. At any rate, a bylaw doesn’t address the root causes of homelessness.
Begging is a different issue, and giving on the street can fuel an addiction, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the good and natural impulse to help. If you proactively take that compassion, and give to the agencies that work with homelessness and addiction, begging will stop and you will make a difference.
Organisations helping the homeless can be found here: