Bylaw gath­ers sup­port

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions are wel­com­ing a law change that would help put a stop to beg­ging.

The Auck­land Coun­cil’s draft pub­lic safety and nui­sance bylaw would ban beg­ging in a way that might in­tim­i­date or be con­sid­ered a nui­sance.

‘‘Some me­dia have been talk­ing about it be­ing a beg­ging ban but if you’re not caus­ing a nui­sance and no­body com­plains then you can beg. If you are be­ing in­tim­i­dat­ing and some­one com­plains you will be moved on,’’ coun­cil­lor Mike Lee says.

He says ex­ist­ing by­laws around beg­ging are in­ef­fec­tive and coun­cil of­fi­cers and po­lice presently have few op­tions avail­able to deal with it.

Mr Lee says the new bylaw isn’t dra­co­nian and beg­gars fac­ing is­sues like home­less­ness and sub­stance ad­dic­tion will be of­fered help.

Do­min­ion Rd Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion man­ager Gary Holmes reg­u­larly gets com­plaints about beg­gars.

‘‘It’s a fairly re­cent phe­nom­e­non in New Zealand and I was sur­prised to see it on Do­min­ion Rd but it def­i­nitely low­ers the tone of the area,’’ he says.

‘‘Part of the rea­son is that we have halfway houses and men­tal health res­i­dences on Do­min­ion Rd. They do tend to at­tract it.

‘‘Of­ten beg­gars are harm­less enough but other times they can cause prob­lems,’’ he says.

The as­so­ci­a­tion has em­ployed a se­cu­rity guard and beg­gars are moved on. ‘‘There are sit­u­a­tions where they are pro­fes­sional fundraisers and we don’t want to en­cour­age that.

‘‘We recog­nise in some cases peo­ple are down on their luck but in Auck­land there are agen­cies to help,’’ Mr Holmes says.

One­hunga Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion man­ager Amanda Kinzett says while beg­gars are hardly over­run­ning the area they are a vis­i­ble prob­lem.

She has seen chil­dren as young as 12 and 13 in­tim­i­dat­ing vis­i­tors.

‘‘They are sub­stance abusers and they are ask­ing peo­ple for money con­stantly, it’s aw­ful,’’ she says.

‘‘I can ask our se­cu­rity per­son to stand around which in­tim­i­dates them and if they know they’re be­ing watched they’ll move on but you end up with an ag­gres­sive en­vi­ron­ment.’’

Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board mem­ber Pauline An­der­son says the bylaw would help ease va­grancy and beg­ging prob­lems that have arisen in Mt Al­bert ( Cen­tral Leader, 2012).

‘‘Some would say there are al­ready laws to de­ter it but I think its good to have the bylaw. It’s like any­thing, if some­one is just sit­ting there be­ing friendly and quiet, no­body is go­ing to com­plain. It’s a bit dif­fer­ent if some­one is be­ing in­tim­i­dat­ing and sniff­ing a bag of glue while they’ve got their cap out,’’ she says.

It is ex­pected that the draft bylaw will be passed within a month.

July 27,

Photo: ROSS GI­B­LIN

Mov­ing on: Busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions are among those wel­com­ing the Auck­land Coun­cil’s draft pub­lic safety and nui­sance bylaw.

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