Do you feel safe in your community? It’s a question we sometimes ask ourselves when something happens to trigger our concern. Whether it’s a crime story on the news, being confronted by windscreen washers at a local intersection, or being intimidated by beggars on the street, such incidents can alter our perception of the safety of our local neighbourhood.
While most people are especially afraid of being violently attacked, fear of being harassed by disorderly people ranks highly as well. It’s what causes people to cross the street to avoid walking past a drunk, or a beggar, or a stranger loitering on the street corner. In extreme cases, people can become afraid to even leave their home.
From the earliest of times, the Police have been the primary enforcers of public order, keeping disreputable behaviour in check. However, over the years, as their role expanded into fighting crime, the link between maintaining public order and crime-prevention, has weakened.
As Harvard University’s Professor James Wilson and Rutgers University’s Professor George Kelling explained in their ground-breaking 1982 article on the theory of crime, Broken Windows, “The citizen who fears the ill-smelling drunk, the rowdy teenager, or the harassing beggar is not merely expressing his distaste for unseemly behavior; he is also giving voice to a bit of folk wisdom that happens to be a correct generalization – namely, that serious street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly behaviour goes unchecked. Muggers and robbers believe they reduce their chances of being caught or even identified if they operate on streets where potential victims are already intimidated by prevailing conditions. If the neighborhood cannot keep an aggressive beggar from annoying passersby, the thief may reason, it is even less likely to call the police to identify a potential mugger or to interfere if the mugging actually takes place.”
The reality is that as a society, most people want undesirable people, who are a threat to public order, removed from their neighbourhoods. But the problem is that over the years, social justice advocates have successfully pushed for the decriminalisation of disreputable behaviour, by arguing that people such as drunks and beggars cause no harm. As a result, some of the main sanctions that the Police traditionally employed to maintain public order in communities, have been removed.
While arresting someone who is begging or drunk may appear unjust to some, failing to do so sends out the signal that such behaviour is acceptable – even though disreputable behaviour can easily undermine public safety within a community.
In fact, it doesn’t take much to alter the balance in a neighbourhood – turning it from being a safe haven to being seen as an unsafe and undesirable place to live. People don’t even need to break the law – gang members standing around looking menacing or youths roaming the streets in groups can quickly change public perceptions.
Maintaining public order remains a vital policing role, and if the law has been weakened to the point where the tools to enable the Police to do that job most effectively are no longer available, then it’s time the law was changed. If it’s a case of the Police lacking the resources needed for community policing, then funding priorities need to be reviewed.
In fact our early laws were specifically designed to protect community standards. While England made disreputable behaviour an offence in 1824 through their Vagrant Act, it took New Zealand another 42 years before our 1866 Vagrant Act was introduced.
That law was quite clear about what was unacceptable behaviour: “Any person who shall commit any of the following offences shall be deemed an idle and disorderly person and liable to imprisonment in any gaol for any time not exceeding six months with or without hard labour.”
That covered people with no lawful means of support, no lawful fixed place of residence, habitual drunkards, anyone out at night armed with an offensive weapon, or anyone carrying illegal drugs.
The law also made begging illegal by deeming as idle and disorderly and liable to imprisonment, “Any person wandering abroad or placing himself in any public place street highway court or passage to beg or gather alms or causing or procuring or encouraging any child to do so”.
Any person caught begging under false pretences was deemed a rogue and vagabond and liable to imprisonment with hard labour for up to a year.
In 1927 the Vagrant Act was replaced by the Police Offences Act, which retained the criminalisation of disreputable behaviour: anyone making a nuisance of themselves was deemed ‘idle and disorderly’ and liable for 3 months imprisonment. More serious offenders were ‘rogues and vagabonds’ and liable for a year in prison with hard labour. And those at the most serious level were deemed ‘incorrigible rogues’ and were liable for up to three years in prison with hard labour.
Begging continued to be illegal, by defining “Every person who wanders abroad or places himself in any public place to beg or gather alms, or causes or procures or encourages any child so to do” as idle and disorderly and liable for up to 3 months imprisonment.
Begging under false pretences was categorised as fraud, with offenders deemed rogues and vagabonds and liable for up to a year in prison with hard labour.
While those laws were expressed in archaic language – by today’s standards – their intent was very clear. However that intent was diluted in 1981, when the Summary Offences Act replaced the Police Offences Act and decriminalised disreputable behaviour. The new Act introduced the offence of ‘disorderly behaviour’: “Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $2,000 who, in or within view of any public place, behaves, or incites or encourages any person to behave, in a riotous, offensive, threatening, insulting, or disorderly manner that is likely in the circumstances to cause violence against persons or property to start or continue.”
In other words, to be an offense, a behaviour had to produce disorder. For an unseemly person’s presence to be considered against the law, that person had to interfere with the way the public used the area, through intimidation, bullying, or the creation of high levels of unease.
As a result, begging was no longer considered a crime – just so long as the beggar did not behave in an offensive or disorderly manner.
However, begging under false pretences remained a criminal offence: “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.”
So while New Zealand law-makers decriminalised begging in the 1980s, in England and Wales, the 1824 Vagrant Act remains in force making it illegal to beg.
Begging is also prohibited in a number of other jurisdictions including Denmark, Greece, Hungary, and the Philippines. In France and Italy begging with animals and children is forbidden. In Norway, Austria, and the US, while there is no nation-wide prohibition on begging, it is banned in some areas. In Canada, the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia have restricted begging through a Safe Streets Act.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Sir Robert Jones, who has long been outspoken about the need to ban begging, has taken exception to a lawyer’s claim that a city council’s begging by-laws breached a beggar’s freedom of expression. Sir Bob states:
“Freedom of expression… applies to pro-active dissent, not the eye-sore inertia of bums despoiling our cities, lying about with begging signs.
“To date this year to my knowledge, backed by the police in Henderson, Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Palmerston North, Porirua, and Christchurch, the public have complained bitterly about these mainly Maori males around 30 years old, sprawled about our streets begging via signs. Numerous incidents have been reported of their threatening folk using ATMs. None have the gall to assert on their cardboard ‘fundamental expressions of speech’, that they’re hungry, given their common characteristic of obesity.
“That said, all praise to the Napier city councillors who, rather than wringing their hands and mouthing platitudes, as with Wellington’s Council, have declared war on these parasites. And credit to the police and also the judge who threw one of these no-goods in prison for a month for fraud, his sign falsely claiming he was homeless.”
The person in question was Frank Lovich, a beggar who was known to become aggressive towards Police, shopkeepers and any members of the public who questioned his motives or asked him to move on. He was convicted of fraud by Judge Bridget Mackintosh in the Hastings District Court in February and sentenced to prison.
His conviction was under Section 15 of the Summary Offences Act, which states that offenders can be jailed for up to three months or fined up to $1,000 if they solicit, gather, or collects alms, or contributions by means of any false pretence.
According to the Police, he was purporting to be homeless, when sitting holding a sign begging for money for food and shelter, when he was being paid $380 a week by WINZ and had a home in Hastings.
Meanwhile in Hamilton last October, in response to people being harassed and feeling intimidated by beggars in the city centre, the Police conducted a survey, finding that of the 15 beggars they identified only two were genuine. The others were found to be bringing in props like duvets, signs and sickly pets to give the impression that they were poor and living on the streets.
As a result, a campaign was launched in the city to educate the public about the best way to help such people – and it isn’t to give them money, which mostly ends up being used for drugs and alcohol, making their problems worse.
In fact, since Hamilton is well provided with appropriate facilities to help the needy, with hot meals supplied daily, emergency housing, and long-term permanent accommodation also available, there is no need for begging.
As harsh as it may sound, the reality is that many beneficiaries find begging easier and more lucrative than working, with news reports outlining how some beggars in 2014, were making over $200 a day.
In some areas beggars were becoming extremely aggressive, punching shop owners who asked them to move – and damaging their property. ATMs were being targeted and rosters were being enforced at prime begging spots, with some proceeds allegedly going to gang ‘handlers’. In some areas beggars were swapping money for drugs.
In April, the Avondale Business Association explained that the problem with beggars was growing worse. Many were arriving in private cars and taxis, sprawling outside shops all day, and becoming increasingly aggressive towards shop owners wanting them to move on.
There is a lot of local support within that community for a ban on begging.
The reality is that there is no need in New Zealand for people to beg. We have a comprehensive welfare system, and for those who need extra help, generous support is available through a multitude of non-government agencies.
And if beneficiaries want to top up the amount of money they receive each week, instead of begging, they should be expected – required, in fact – to use their initiative to take on part-time jobs, especially since they are clearly motivated to better themselves.
As Wellington’s Horomona Mason explained earlier this year, while it can be difficult to turn around addiction problems, all beggars really want is employment and a proper sense of direction in their lives.
That’s why banning begging is the only compassionate way forward. Not only would opportunistic scammers disappear overnight, but the Police would be able to direct those in genuine need to the agencies most suited to deal with their entrenched welfare, addiction, mental health, housing, or employment-related problems.
What is certain is that there is no compassion in turning a blind eye.
THIS WEEK’S POLL ASKS:
Would you support a ban on begging?
*Poll comments are posted below.
*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.
THIS WEEK’S POLL COMMENTS
|We need to return to a time when begging was a crime. Seeing Auckland CBD with beggars crowding the street is a sad state of affairs.||Walnetta|
|Down on their luck – perhaps – but there are ample organisations and govt bodies to assist them to gain employment. Offering their labour in return for a donation would have greater credibility.||Michael|
|Yes, unfortunately,most begging seem to be done by Maoris. The same race that wants to run New Zealand. Many Maoris have no pride and expect everyone else to support them and their families.||Marshall|
|Our Welfare system is already set up to assist people who require financial help (at the tax payer’s expense). There are no legitimate reasons for begging in this country.||Gifford|
|Too bloody right||Bill|
|Yes as well as false treaty claims by all the two bit part maori, talk about begging, what about green fraudsters, and car windscreen washers.||James|
|In this country, yes. The social welfare system in NZ provides adequate protection for these people if they don’t waste money on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc.||John|
|No one has genuine needs for this sort of disorderly behaviour.||Russell|
|Yes. Get off your fat ar*E and get a job. Pay some tax, even.||Mark|
|The ban would solve the problem at hand cosmetically. To get closer to the root of this problem this would require councils to do surveillance on who these people are and where they come from and do background checks as well. That would enable councils to establish who are scammers and who are more’ genuine’ problem cases. To deal with the scammers would be easy. Give that lot the choice to do community service like collecting rubbish off council roads ore cleaning up parks etc or forfeit their benefits.If they still do not comply the last option would be a state organized labour scheme the green do gooders would then have another reason to jump up and down and cry racist) The other group has to be looked at as to what problems does exist there. If there is a tribal affiliation, the tribe has to accomodate an feed them. Otherwise medical assistance or such should be given only where necessary. What these people need is to be faced with the fact that they are part of this society and that they have to do their part to receive benefits. Nothing is for free!!!!||Michael|
|I believe in the priciple of you don’t work, you don’t eat. Collect those beggers in some kind of work force and teach them how to clean road side of undesirable plants and rubbish. Teach them to be usefull instead of a pain in the you know what. It is there choice to be lazy so they do need help to get of their bum. Make sure they do not get paid for doing nothing by the welfare department.||Johan|
|Get them off the streets.||Neil|
|There is a social welfare system that us taxpayers pay into. Why should we be affronted and accosted, in some cases, by these people, some of whom may be too lazy to get off their backsides and apply for help.||Kevin|
|Begging in it’self is not the problem, dishonesty and aggression are.||Linc|
|Because of the way the Employment Act is structured; Maori 1st, Pacifica 2nd, minority groups 3rd and no 4th option; Helen Clark once said, “The only reason any Maori is unemployed is that they do not want to work”. The only ones who have accosted me in the street or sat with their begging bowl have been Maori. At the same time there are all kinds who are mentally unfit to programme their own lives in an organised manner and the government neglects them, they are sometimes homeless and begging so the news media writes. As far as this goes, Governments should be ashamed and take steps to care for these people like they used to.||George|
|Apart from doing nothing, beggars also don’t pay tax on their takings!||Gerd|
|Too often it is a lifestyle choice.||Kevin|
|It’s like a growing cancer. I have often walked passed downtown MacDonald’s and it’s definitely the most horrible experience. Also when the Downtown shopping centre was there there were some beggars who would sit outside the TV shop, making horrible comments if you ignored them. Also I have seen many just lying around MacDonalds mud Queen Street on mattresses with duvets, all such an ugly sight, in this supposedly marketed “most liveable city in the World” yeah Len Brown you may need to revise that statement, especially with the awful disruptive roadworks, building works etc, everything is such a mess in the city, we’ve lost the plot undoubtedly.||Audrey|
|There is already a support system for those genuinely in need. Most who give to ‘beggars’ do so out of embarrassment or fear.||Harvey|
|And we’re supposed to revere the Maori way of life.||Monica|
|Should have happened years ago||barry|
|It is objectionable, intimidating and unnecessary behaviour on our streets||Gordon|
|Come on, get real and stop this rort.||Rob|
|There are enough welfare benefits to cater for beggars. If the welfare is not enough get off your backside and go and get a job.||Wayne|
|A national disgrace that begging is continuing to be tolerated.||Lee|
|Welfare is available. There is no need for beggars.||Arthur|
|For the same reasons I support working for the dole. I work in Christchurch City and am appalled at the number of beggars “working” their pitch. If they have mental problems we should re-open the asylums where they can be properly cared for.||David|
|Get them off the streets!||Mark|
|They are not beggars, they are, in many instances, opportunistic bludgers||Paul|
|It should be nipped in the bud in New Zealand before it becomes like the U.K where the shopping streets are decorated with beggars every 100 metres or so. It has turned into a thriving industry there.||David|
|YES, Not surprised there mostly Maori, they are a lazy race, there are plenty of jobs.||Athol|
|Law should revert to that pre 1980’s||Terry|
|Well said, Muriel and very timely. Kind regards Ian Clark||Ian|
|I subscribe to the school of hard labour in prison for those caught begging. If they haven’t the energy to make their way to a WINS office then maybe some physical exercise at the end of a pick or shovel may help.||Dennis|
|Begging has become a big money earner, and the sooner the bleeding heart liberals understand that, the sooner we can stop it. To me begging comes under the same nonsense banner as poverty. Our country has so much support for really needy people, that the poverty we hear about is self inflicted.||Lloyd|
|It would help to restore standards missing for sometime in our urban areas.||John|
|They are a low type that should be spending there time getting work.||John|
|Winz and other support services including effective measures to verify need over want, and organised fraud should eliminate the need for begging in NZ.||Stan|
|Definitely ban begging. It would be preferable for ‘the State’ to assist the GENUINE needy that have them on the streets begging. Layabouts and the able who choose not to work for their support should get nothing.||John|
|There is no need for begging because we have probably the most generous welfare system in the world.||Mike|
|Most are feeding their addictions, and I do not want to be an enabler.||Peter|
|And illegal windscreen washers.||Frank|
|It is the bi-product of the welfare state, socialism and neo-liberalism… all coupled to the bleeding-heart brigade. Outlaw the lot. Make the ‘benefit’ conditional. I could write pages on what’s wrong with NZ?||Ced|
|Too bloody right I would!!!||Martin|
|It is a sad thing to see but there are other avenues for getting help.||Laurel|
|No need for it in nz.||Margaret|
|Don’t these people get enough from WINZ and other Government agencies. Do they waste it on Fags, boose and gambling. Ban them and get them off the streets.||Colin|
|Most of them do it to be annoying and do it to buy their drugs and booze. They deliberately look scruffy to get the sympathy vote.||Benjamin|
|I have been intimidated and embarrassed by filthy foul-mouthed beggars in Hamilton. They are disgusting and the streets shouls be cleared of them as they sure lower the tone of our beautiful cities.||Rosemary|
|Yes, ban it.||Neil|
|Agree with article.||Sherie|
|I work I don’t beg.||Bruce|
|Any regulation needs to protect the right of legitimate charities, churches and schools that collect donations, but assuming that sensible provision, we need to ban beggars, sit-in vagrants and rough sleeping itinerants from our streets, transport hubs, public spaces and public parks. Maybe we should allow rough sleeping and congregation on our beaches as a outlet for the genuine impoverished. Let the Police be vigilant in enforcement so our communities remain safe and respectable.||Richard|
|Begging has been going on for a very long time. Banning it will achieve little, if anything. The best solution is to ignore the beggars.||Peter|
|There is no need for these people to be on the streets begging with our welfare system available to them… ban them indeed!||Maddi|
|While I support a ban, I have some concerns, as new legislation often creates unintended consequences, i.e., could busking be seen by some as begging, while others enjoy it and don’t regard it as begging. To cover this, legislation could then provide very specific definitions of begging, but someone will always find a loophole.||John|
|Have experienced seeing a group of ‘beggars’ leaving McDonalds in Queen St., Auckland and overheard one of them directing the others to their ‘spots’.||Michael|
|This is NZ – we don’t want tipping or begging – two things the USA is well known for.||John|
|For the same reasons that such laws were enacted in many countries.||Hugh|
|It is becoming worse and worse and unless something is done sooner rather than later it will only continue to get worse as more realise they can get away with it. Probably more violence will eventuate even if it is only between beggars over premium sites, so more intimidation in the shopping areas for the general public will eventuate.||Peter|
|A ban is long overdue.||Barbara|
|NZ has many NGOs that spend time to voluntarily support the destitute who can quickly find help in times of crisis. In my dealings with such people they choose to be homeless. It’s just another lifestyle. Churches up and down the country have open doors and would help them 24/7. But they must make the first move.||Keith|
|Nobody needs to beg in this country..||Deb|
|Who is honestly poor?||David|
|Wholly unnecessary in this cradle to grave welfare state – pull the racist card, the disenfranchised card, or the marginalised and deprived cards and your quids in with the looney Left and their Green fellow-travellers. Plenty of jobs, skilled and non-skilled, just means you have to get up in the morning sober, not high on something, and do a fair days work. How hard is that???||Andrew|
|Look what happened when Gang patches were banned in Wanganui. Need to do this more.||Robert|
|What ever happened to the law that penalized people for being drunk and disorderly in a public place?||Murray|
|Get a job like the rest of us.||jeff|
|Because it is overdue. It is a blight on our streets, and in a country where welfare is a given, highly undesirable and necessary. Totally unacceptable.||Grahame|
|Definitely. This is a no brainer and I’m sure most Kiwis would support it.||Peter|
|Many dont qualify for benefits, because they dont have an address, including me, so to take away begging, which has been around since time began, is crimminal. No one is forcing people to pay them.||Dave|
|The law should never have been changed to allow begging. Bring back the hard labour sentence as well. Busking is just acceptable. At least something is being done to earn a ‘donation’.||A.G.R.|
|Definitely undesirable behaviour. The law is getting too PC.||Sue|
|Having worked in the area of prisoner reintegration, I am fully aware that mostly money is used for smokes, drugs and alcohol. MSD provides benefits.||Colin|
|I thoroughly agree with Sir Bob. In Christchurch it is a bad sight. I do try to avoid them. It makes me wonder what tourists think!||John|
|As stated there is NO need in NZ for begging with our welfare system that is if anything over generous.||Mike|
|I agree with everything in the article!||Lois|
|BEGGING IS / CAN BE A FRONT FOR SUBTLE STANDOVER TACTIC OF STAND AND DELIVER.||Anon|
|Also windscreen washing at road intersections||Ron|
|There is no real poverty in NZ in “world terms” as we have a number of social welfare support services available to those who really and honestly need assistance. There is definitely no room for begging to be a way of life as we have seen illustrated, especially under fall pretences where the beggar hass alternative income and/or other support in place.,||Alan|
|Didn’t the Nazis start with clearing out the beggars, then the gypsies, the homosexuals, the crazies, the Jews… .||Colin|
|With all the other means of support which is payed by the Government via the tax payer there is no need and place for beggers they are just layabouts looking for xtra money and a menace to the public i say ban them.No excuse in this country .||Ken|
|This Begging is a guise for Drugs, Intimidation, and spying on possible targets for Theft, either Person, House of Car.||Geoff|
|I don’t like beggars either but there are too many restrictions on people’s freedoms already. .||Nick|
|I see them begging on the street. They always have a mobile phone in their hands ! and other devices as well !!!||Ian|
|The welfare system is more than generous for everyone’s needs. Beggars should spend their time more ‘profitably’!||Jon|
|We have a full and perfectly good social welfare service. There is no need for anyone to beg in this country and it creates fear and uncertainty of safety particulary in Auckland City.||Lesley|
|As has been rightly said, NZ has such a broad based welfare system (except in really exceptional circumstances) there is no need to beg to maintain life.||Ted|
|They have as much help as they need offered to them and don’t need to be on the streets.||Anthony|
|Its an unwarranted blot on our public streets. Particularly when there is plenty of help available for those genuinely in need and not just trying to finance booze and dope!||Ron|
|Absolutely.West Auckland has a regular flock of them. My wife gave fruit to one young lady (with a well fed dog), but she wasnt interested. We saw her next day walking to take up her posse.||Dick|
|The stock excuse for permitting begging is that it accords with the idea of ‘freedom of expression’. This is pure sophistry: begging is nothing less than a form of antisocial behaviour. Sure, freedom to express oneself is a key pillar of liberal democracy, but the whole principle becomes devalued to the point of nonsense when it is claimed to cover just about any human behaviour whatsoever. As John Locke said: “Liberty does not mean licence”. Besides, we nominally have a welfare state to help those in dire need; and if, for any reason, they can’t avail themselves of this, then the solution is not for them to beg, but for the social support to be made more accessible.||Graham|
|A high pressure hose would work!||Chris|
|Begging, and other unacceptable social behavior is becoming worse – with Police no longer dealing with the situation and PC thoughts allowing such matters to get worse||Hylton|
|As your article so clearly spells out Muriel, there is no need to beg in New Zealand. We have very comprehensive welfare programs.||Ronmac|
|There are many and varied safety nets to deal wit the issues raised here. Enbforcement of application of those facilities,,,identifying need, right through to re-housing, …..let’s just also remember that the drugs don;t help either. Enforcement is a colossal job…but someone has to start somewhere.||Mabel|
|It,s time communities were safe from beggers who spent the money on drugs,booze,ETC,& laws on ALL sorts SHOULD be made.||Cindy|
|Absolutely. Most are sitting there with a latte beside them.||John|
|With such a welfare state as New Zealand, there should be no call at all for begging on the street.||Owen|
|Absolutely – perhaps if they offered to do some work for someone they might feel better!||fiona|
|Support services, benetfits etc are quite adequate to help every “beggar”.||Bill|
|New Zealand has a generous Welfare system. Too generous in some cases. There is no need to beg if welfare money is handled correctly.||Sheila|
|There is no need for it if they comply with the rules that govern ordinary NZ citizens. If hungry, they could go to their Marae where there is always a meal available; they could always contribute by pulling a few weeds, etc.||Mike|
|As has already been written, there is no need for begging in our society especially when you are already getting a payment from WINZ.||Mary|
|Immediately. It is, in most cases, simply a ruse by which ‘beggars’ to receive tax free cash.||Stuart|
|There is enough solcial welfare support for all those who are deprived of basic need. In small communities a beggare would be well known as “genuine”. In a city it appers to be more of a tax free profession dominated by drug users or deliberately homeless.||David|
|More than a ban is needed. It must be followed up with a penalty, prison with hard labour would be suitable.||Vernon|
|Get a job.||Alan|
|Much of Sir Bob’s comments were right on the money!||Alan|
|As has been clearly observed, there is no need in NZ to beg. Our welfare system is set up to help genuinely poor people.||Paul|
|I never give to beggars in this and other social welfare countries.||Alan|
|Nobody in NZ should need to beg. Help agencies are available in case of real need.||Graham|
|Most certainly ban!||Jim|
|Because I believe it would help the authorities identify those with real needs and get rid of the opportunists and criminals that they really are.||Lisa|
|And get rid of that nasty aggressive slob, who has jumped on the “maori” bandwagon by renaming himself “Hone”, and litters the footpath in downtown Nelson.||Rod|
|These people are offensive as they commandeer footpaths, and shop doorways. I find them threatening and have witnessed one Maori guy threatening to bash passers by.||Kerry|
|I definitely believe the money goes to booze and drugs before food or children.||Lesley|
|What is wrong with you? Ensure the homelessness problem is solved before you make these people illegal just for being in the situation created by govt.||Amanda|
|Excellent write up.||Ian|
|There is absolutely no reason for anyone to be begging on the streets given the extensive social service safety nets that are in place to help those in need. Its a pity that any changes to begging laws will place a further burden on our already overstretched police force. We need our police taking care of the increasing levels of serious crime … not picking-up social misfits and bludgers. Our police already have it hard enough without being lugged with more social welfare work. I really pity our police right now. They are under-resourced, overworked and underpaid.||Steve|
|They are intimidating and annoying. It has been reported that some of them actually make a lot of money out of it. And if you think about it even $3 every ten minutes is $18 per hour tax free.||Trish|
|It would seem that some of those persons begging in the streets have stooped to the level of threatening people if they do not give them money. This is unacceptable and they must be removed from our streets by the Police.||Ernest|
|The crimal aspect is a re worry, and could escalate.||Richard|
|Very few skinny beggars around !!||Kerry|
|They can go to a half way house or one of the many shelters that are around take them off the streets ir cut off there benefit.||Geoff|
|If any one has visited Nelson there is a fixture (person) outside Farmers who is a pain and disgrace and council is gutless to move him on, how the owners of Farmers put up with this parasite is strange to say the least,,I was in Moscow a few years ago and the police just throw them into the paddy wagon, kids and all, no messing around but our police and councils are too scared because of the so called freedom of expression,instead of washing the streets the footpaths should be washed down with the water cannon trucks that are used overseas and get rid of these flea and dirty looking parasites for good.||Richard|
|These scum are mostly scammers as our welfare system is there to support them and if they want more they should get off their backside and take some responsibility for themselves.||Bruce|
|Ban begging. There is no need for begging on the streets. The present social welfare system should cover their basic needs.||Frank|
|But only if the “beggars” are already receiving their full income assistance from WINZ…||Andy|
|No justification in this welfare state.||David|
|Overseas begging is out of control. One man I saw in the Sydney CBD had his flat screen TV along with his stuff while begging. In Hamilton it is a problem. Stop it now while we can.||Vivien|
|Most definitely. I was a Copper 45yrs ago and they have now been emasculated hugely to our detriment.||Brian|
|One has to live ,,somehow.||Frank|
|Begging in NZ gives a false image to tourist of a false state of the country. With the welfare payments it is not necessary to beg. Begging is a choice of the individual without a reason, so it should be banned. So banning bagging is a move to clean up this ugly image of NZ.||Frank|
|Next thing the part Maori who are the majority of the beggars, will be claiming compensation under the Treaty. It will be our fault that they ended up begging on the street even though they are all receiving some sort of benefit from the rest of NZ working taxpayers.||Jock|
|There are 2 options here … 1. Remove beggars from all sources of welfare, on the premise that their begging on the streets is a form of self employment or 2. Institutionalize them semi-permanently in a beggars facility under spartan living conditions until they come to the point of view that it might be a good idea to get themselves a real job. There is no hesitation on my part to putting in place, as many organisations have, support facilities preparing vagrants for transition to full time work. To solve the homeless aspect, I’d also suggest providing institution style accommodation, such as a disused prison or a modified old school or disused warehouse, to house vagrants and homeless, with strict rules about behavior and limited freedoms, again until such time as the participants get the message about the need for them to become self reliant members of society.||Dianna|
|We already support a very generous welfare system and allowing begging demeans us all but primarilly the beggar.||Rob|
|Absolutely agree with comments||Tony|
|No need for it||Owen|
|Absolutely!In LA they found beggars who would make $90,000 untaxed a year.Okay in the US without Social services you can’t tell who’s in need.But here in NZ there is no excuse for begging.Just lazy people trying to get money for no jam.Window washing must also be banned it’s intimidating in all countries.||JC|
|Absolutely!! We have very adequate support services in this country without having to tolerate these parasites despoiling our streets.||Tony|
|They add nothing to our communities.||Ross|
|Most beggers appear well fed judging by their physique, and a lot are smokers ( that’s not cheap anymore )||Kevin|
|I’m sure that beggers want employment and a good sense of direction. They need help not just left to live off the streets.||Kerin|
|Will our weak insipid government take any notice of this poll?||Brianb|
|WE have a department of labour, That should be used to create work for them||Hugh|
|As you stated the begger was receiving $380 a week from WINS ?||Terry|
|…not a good look for NZ’s Tourism image…best to keep poverty under wraps..!!!||ChrisH|
|Allowing beggars is the thin edge of the wedge. Nip it in the bud and a lot of antisocial behavior will disappear with it.||Neville|
|They can afford to buy tobacco and cigarettes but too damn lazy to work. Either fine them or jail the lazy bastards.||Jon|
|There is no justification for this antisocial behaviour.||John|
|We would be better to strengthen the drunk & disorderly act which then means drunks would be arrested instead of wasting hospital services.||Michael|
|Sick of having to step over these people of the public street while shopping or going about my daily business.||Graeme|
|Begging is just another con job for many who are just too lazy to lift themselves or waste the various taxpayer funded aid available to them . They are encouraged by the self appointed appologists for everything and by a sense of entitlement.||Max|
|Let them do their thing. After all we don’t have to give them anything.||Wah|
|In most cases they are looking for easy money without working||Colin|
|Clean up our streets so the wider public can move in their towns and cities without fear of confrontations and intimidation||Eric|
|Jail is too good for them. Suspend their benefit.||Laurie|
|In this country we have a unemployment or dole that helps people and there are places were these people can get help. The big thing is these people need some one to help them to get this help. There is no need for begging in this country.||Robert|
|Sir Bob says it all.||Terry|
|New Zealand has a strong safety net for all people. That is missing in many parts of the US so I have a different attitude here.||Dene|
|Make the homeless do a job, such as sanding down a window for a pensioner widow, before they can get a free feed. I think you will find 90% of the “homeless” will not be homeles.||Sam|
|For the very reason outlined. There is no need for it!!! Everyone is entitled to work and income support. If they cannot survive on what they are offered by the government there is something wrong. By permitting begging you are not encouraging these people to work, to clean up their personal habits or to seek help. Worse is when they try to engender sypmpathy by bringing along a pet.||Peter|
|Yes definitely it has become a way of life for some as has been well documented by Sir Robert Jones.||Suzanne|
|Yes – a ban on begging is long overdue.||Henry|
|It’s ridiculous that the do-gooders think that it is better for these people to be left on the streets instead of being directed into proper social services to help sort out their problems.||Michael|
|It’s a good example of how misguided our politicians are when they forget their principles and go with populist approaches. The language in the vagrant laws should have been updated but the fundamental objectives should have remained in place.||Andy|
|Beggars are a real problem and should be removed by the Police and delivered to social services.||Jack|
|There is absolutely no need in this country for beggars with a welfare system that is comprehensive and generous. They should be banned.||Mary|