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'Inhumane' Auckland city businesses drenching homeless with water

Auckland business owners are dousing homeless people outside with water in an effort to shoo them away from their shop fronts, but critics are calling the method inhumane.

Statistics show 30,000 Kiwis don't have adequate housing, with half of those living in Auckland, most in the doorways of central city shops.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said homeless people could be intimidating and were not good for Auckland.

It's the mess they leave behind, it's that filth that they're left with, and then when confronted they intimidate staff ... it's not good for Auckland, it's not good for businesses - Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO

"It's the mess they leave behind, it's that filth that they're left with, and then when confronted they intimidate staff ... it's not good for Auckland, it's not good for businesses," he said

The number of homeless people in the last year has doubled and Mr Barnett said "businesses are going to do something" to stop them from sleeping near their stores.

The sprinklers to one city business were installed about two months ago and are activated with a motion sensor, a worker telling ONE News it was an effort to stop loitering and drug use from the homeless.

A San Francisco church was lambasted for using water to keep rough sleepers away, an issue Auckland churches are dealing with too, but St Matthew's Church would never consider sprinklers.

"It just feels so unwelcoming and they're human beings and, you know, for many of them at this point there is not another place for them to go ... they're not choosing to be there, it just really is inhumane I think," Church member Helen Jacobi said.

Lifewise Trust service manager Corie Haddock said the sprinklers were not going to solve the problem.

"What it's going to do is move the problem, you know, we need a collective approach [from] council, central government and community agencies to work towards ending homelessness."


Some have described the methods used by business owners frustrated with rough sleepers in their doorways as inhumane. Source: 1 NEWS


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