‘‘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.’’
‘‘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.’’
‘‘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).’’