Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

‘‘I use the Porirua Rail­way sta­tion sub­way very fre­quently whilst out walk­ing at week­ends as a means of get­ting from Ranui Heights to the city and be­yond, and the beg­ging in the sub­way is so fre­quent that I avoided walk­ing through the sub­way to­wards the end of last year.

Some­times there were at least 10 teenagers lined up in the sub­way all ask­ing for money as I walked from one end of the sub­way to the other, and I’d be asked again on my re­turn jour­ney . . . Well I say that if these beg­gars can’t at least do a tap dance, play a gui­tar, or sing with a hat in front of them thus earn­ing their $1 like hard work­ing buskers, then a by­law ban­ning beg­ging be in­tro­duced sooner rather than later.’’ – L Browne Be­low are some of the reader’s re­sponses to last week’s ar­ti­cle on an ‘‘anti-beg­ging by­law’’:

‘‘Those wannabe gangsta punks that mill around in the walk­way at Porirua Sta­tion need to be dealt with. In­ter­est­ingly, have you no­ticed they usu­ally only ha­rass pakeha com­muters. Prob­a­bly be­cause they know if they ha­rass a Maori guy for a cig­a­rette or money they would get a punch in the teeth! Also, have you no­ticed these punks are decked out in the lat­est and coolest ‘street cred’ clothes right down to the sneak­ers that cost sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars . . .

[Fines] just will not work. Hand­ing out a fine to punks that will not pay them and will wave them around as some sort of badge of hon­our is a waste of ev­ery­one’s time . . . In Europe . . . they deduct fines straight from wages. ’’ – Kate

‘‘It used to be a disin­gen­u­ous request of ‘Oh, can I please have fifty cents for the bus?’ from one or two ‘beg­gars’, to a group of peo­ple who seem to take it in a ros­ter to ac­cost peo­ple for a ‘cou­ple of bucks’, which has grown to the group look­ing at you – an ugly un­der­cur­rent of an im­plied threat to your safety when the group sit­ting there gazes with a va­cant look in their eyes . . . [I go into the store] ev­ery time with a barely sup­pressed rage at their au­dac­ity.’’

– Name with­held

‘‘It’s tough out there, can our sup­port ser­vices be used to help, sup­port, as­sist them? So­ci­ety is al­ways quick to con­demn. I don’t think liv­ing is easy for these peo­ple. Be­ing com­pas­sion­ate and gen­er­ous may be an al­ter­na­tive from our com­mu­nity.’’

– Pierre

‘‘With the wel­fare sup­port NZ pro­vides for peo­ple, there is no ex­cuse for beg­gars. Ban them ev­ery­where – a lot of these guys are not even home­less, they just like to in­tim­i­date and take your money, or shoes.’’ – Sally

‘‘I reckon you should have fun with it – carry around a lit­tle half broom and shovel, and next time a twerp asks you for money, get them to sweep up around you or pick up rub­bish or chew­ing gum stuck in the as­phalt and put it in the bin, then give him a buck.

Do I re­ally need to point out that fines re­ally won’t work? Give re­peat of­fend­ers (three strikes?) com­mu­nity work in­stead.’’

– Rangi

‘‘How about se­cu­rity guards at key points such as ATMs? Per­haps even some of the beg­ging youths may ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing given em­ploy­ment and trusted with that re­spon­si­bil­ity (af­ter suit­able train­ing).’’

– Iskan­dar

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