Tauranga Mayor defends begging ban in inner city

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Sunday, 31 March 2019, 4:02PM
Beggars will no longer be able to be within five metres of store fronts. (Photo / Getty)

Tauranga's Mayor is promising fines will be a last resort as the city cracks down on beggars and rough sleepers.

From tomorrow, beggars will be banned from being within five metres of shops in parts of the Tauranga CBD, Greerton and Mount Maunganui.

Mayor Greg Brownless told the Weekend Collective they won't be immediately dishing out fines.

"We're just gonna first of all try the friendly approach and ask them to move somewhere else so people who are trying to get on with the hard business of earning a living can do so unencumbered." 

He says council staff will do this initially, but police will be brought in if necessary.

Brownless believes it is necessary that they do this to stop people sleeping in doorways or leaving human waste behind. 

"If you're going to sleep, don't do it near someone's doorway when they are trying to do business." 

He says business is tough in the city, and that people have been feeling intimidated by "aggressive beggars". 

Part of the issue is that many of the beggars are part of 'begging gangs' who get dropped off into the CBD, Brownless says.

He notes that there are groups in Tauranga that exist to help homeless people. 



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