Auckland mayoral candidate proposes strict 'begging ban' bylaw

An Auckland mayoral candidate is calling for a tougher bylaw to end street begging for good, and says the government should step in to solve the "complex issues involved with homelessness".

Mark Thomas says the issues of begging and homelessness is not a problem for the council to solve alone, and labelled Len Brown's 10-year plan "ineffective". 

"Auckland Council is not making fast enough progress," he says.

"It's not fair that some people use our streets and public places for their own ends, even if they clearly need help."

The current bylaw, enforced in 2013 by Len Brown, requires beggars to intimidate or cause a nuisance in order to be removed.

Homeless person Source: Breakfast


Mr Thomas says the government needs to "meet its responsibility" to end the issue of begging, while the council focuses on ensuring "streets and public places are respected".

Temporary shelters such as vacant government and council houses could be a solution, he says.

"Police and other groups can take homeless people there and make it easier for government and other support agencies to reach them."

Homelessness in central Auckland has been a widely debated topic, with many left outraged last year after it was revealed business owners were dousing rough sleepers with water in an effort to shoo them away from their shop fronts.