Businesses call to ban begging
Beggars are intimidating shoppers and need to be banned from Auckland’s CBD, business owners say.
A survey by business association Heart of The City showed that of 300 businesses that responded, 93 per cent wanted more done to ban beggars from the CBD.
Business owners said they felt beggars were impacting business by deterring customers from entering their shops.
Heart of The City chief executive Viv Beck said it would use the information collected from the survey to decide its next course of action. Customers were avoiding shops which had beggars set up outside, Beck said.
‘‘One business I spoke to told me last week they had to close early because they feared for staff and their customers when behaviour outside became aggressive.’’
Polls on social network Neighbourly.co.nz, which attracted 350 responses, showed 53 per cent of people thought beggars were a nuisance, 35 per cent said beggars weren’t harming anyone, and 12 per cent felt it was a non-issue.
Auckland beggar Edd, who did not want his last name published, said he had been on the streets of Auckland begging for more than 30-years.
He said it was ‘‘just a few bad eggs’’ ruining it for the rest of them.
‘‘I am one of the older ones now and I try and tell the young guys to behave and stay out of the way. For businesses I understand they don’t like us but they have to understand it’s only a few that are ruining it. Most of us are peaceful and don’t bother anyone.’’
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said ‘‘transporting the problem’’ was not the answer.
There were issues around safety and security for businesses, but the city needed to work with businesses to fix the problem, not move it on, he said.
‘‘Begging and homelessness are different problems but both are about people so we should find a solution that delivers dignity and addresses the real problem,’’ Barnett said.