Begging ban ruled out for Porirua City
There won’t be a beggar ban for Porirua despite the pleas of some business owners.
Last month Cannons Creek shop owners complained aggressive begging outside their businesses was driving customers away and warned of increased violence at the shopping centre.
In January, mayor Mike Tana vowed to consider a begging ban to help fed-up retailers, but on Tuesday he said it wouldn’t work.
‘‘We looked at a change in bylaw but it’s not an appropriate tool.
‘‘The begging is specific around a small group of people trying to get money for drugs and alcohol.’’
He said police had told him the activity had crept up during the summer holidays while staff were away but policing levels were back to normal.
Lines painted around the cash machines to create a ‘‘safe space’’ and the removal of a bench directly opposite the machine could be tactics used by council to help, he said.
‘‘This isn’t begging as we know it, Porirua looks after its community when it needs help.’’
Paul Wahid said the beggars outside his shop knew their rights and used them to taunt his staff and customers.
‘‘They tell me it’s not against the law for them to stand right in my doorway and ask for money,’’ he said.
‘‘Nothing has changed, it’s still as bad as it was last month, nobody has done anything.
‘‘Council should do something but it’s like they don’t believe us.’’
Wahid said police patrolled the shopping centre in the morning but the beggars returned the moment police disappeared.
‘‘Last week one person threw my own fruit at me when I asked them to stop begging.
‘‘I’d give them food if it would make them stay away but they want money for drugs instead.’’
He warned someone would get hurt if the problem wasn’t addressed by council and police.
In a written statement, Cannons Creek Neighbourhood Policing Team sergeant Matiu Grant said local police would work with the council to address the begging issue.
‘‘An increase in patrolling the area is one of those options, and we have increased our patrols in the area and continue to speak with those individuals who have caused concern.’’
Paul Wahid says beggars are ruining his Cannons Creek business by harassing customers for drug money.