Tensions rise in central Auckland over aggressive beggars demanding money

Tensions appear to be rising in Auckland's CBD over the actions of aggressive beggars who business owners are accusing of threatening and intimidating behaviour.

Business owners are accusing some beggars in the central city of being aggressive and threatening to the public. Source: 1 NEWS

The frustrated retailers say the beggars are targeting pedestrians, diners, courier drivers and tourists, demanding money and sometimes food.

One beggar, a self-confessed drug addict, told ONE News that while he is always polite and passive he has witnessed increasingly violent behaviour from other beggars.

Things will get worse, he warns, with people who aren't homeless coming into the city to compete for street charity.

Auckland police have confirmed there is an issue with groups of people coming into town to beg, and that tourists are seen as a soft touch in the summer months.

They want business owners to tell them about specific incidents.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development says while it doesn't want to discount what is a complex social issue, most tourists are accustomed to the visible signs of homelessness in big cities around the world.