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Tauranga retailers against revoking begging bylaw

Tauranga councillors have voted to move ahead on a recommendation to revoke the begging and rough sleeping ban. File image/SunLive.

A move to revoke the begging and rough sleeping ban could have a negative impact on retailers, says Downtown Tauranga chair Brian Berry.

The bylaw prevents people from begging and rough sleeping with five metres of public entrances to retail or hospitality premises in the Tauranga City, Mount Maunganui and Greerton CBDs.

Councillors have voted to move forward on a recommendation to revoke the begging and rough sleeping provisions in its Street Use and Public Places Bylaw 2018.

The vote narrowly passed by six votes to five in a council meeting on Tuesday.

Brian says he’s disappointed by the decision.

“The current bylaw is working well and all parties are working well under it including the council, the police and the beggars, and homeless themselves.

“If it was revoked, I think the likely behaviour of the beggars and the rough sleepers will be to encroach into the previously outlawed five meters of the retail premises and I really don't think that is a good thing.”

Deputy mayor Larry Baldock voted against revoking the by law and agrees that it has been working well.

“It was there to give some protection to retailers and it had been working in my opinion. It's a shame to see it revoked.”

Larry is in favour of keeping the bylaw but with amended wording that is agreed upon by the Tauranga Housing Advocacy Trust.

The trust have applied for judicial review because they are concerned the bylaw is a breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights. A hearing date for the review has been set for March 5, 2020.

The new wording would negate the need for the hearing and save the council and rate payers legal costs, says Larry.

“I voted against revoking it and I would prefer to keep it with the amendment so that the message is still there, that within five meters of a retail premise you cannot beg.

“Although the new wording would have been you can't be a nuisance or intimidating.

“I've been a supporter of the by law all the time, right through from the beginning. I believe the retailers needed some assistance too.

“We were dealing with issues of people exploiting public begging.”

Councillor Heidi Hughes voted to revoke the ban because it’s the wrong response to this problem, she says.

“From my perspective, it did support one area of the community which needed support, which was the retailers.

“But on the other hand, it sends a very unbalanced message to some of our most vulnerable people to say that they are not welcome. There's better ways to go about addressing the issue than banning.”

She says the ban was put in place to support retailers because there were problems with aggressive behaviour from beggars and homeless but other than the ban there were no extra measures.

“There was no security measures or no upgraded police presence or anything. It was a signal that says you're not welcome here.”

If the ban is revoked she says council needs to work closely with retailers to come up with plan to ensure all parties are supported.

“We've got to be really mindful and clear about our direction and work together with them right from the start and take it seriously.”

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15 Comments
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W.T.F.

Posted on 21-11-2019 12:55 | By Justin T.

Well put Yadick. If the Council wants to go down the P.C. track then I suggest some TOUGH LOVE. Justin T.

Three more years

Posted on 20-11-2019 19:24 | By myview

I’m gutted that my council voting has put in some Councillors in favor of allowing vagrants to interfere with citizens who go to shopping centers to spend their hard earned moneys only to be pestered by these deadbeats. Never mind those elected that voted against the existing bylaw have had their names recorded in my black book!!

Insanity prevails.

Posted on 20-11-2019 14:25 | By

Completely agree with yadick well said. My place of work is the cbd and various bus stops along Cameron road.i see tourists getting harreased on a daily bases. Drunk abusive people every day in the cbd drinking under signs which say promoted $500 fine. Drug dealing in full view off anybody who cares to look. Intimidation. What bunch of bowzos we have in council. My last count I can see at least 6 cameras a coummunity police officer 20ft away a police station 250m away and Maori wardens Yet nothing has changed in the 1 year I have worked in the cbd. Get real council take your pc correct glasses off and see it for what really goes on.

Unbelievable

Posted on 20-11-2019 14:12 | By Val.M

What are you doing new councillors? We elected you on good faith that you would do your best for our city! So this group of people you are defending has more rights than honest hard working citizens making a living have? Think again.

Councillor Heidi Hughes has very clearly

Posted on 20-11-2019 13:28 | By SML

NOT been confronted by aggressive beggars in the Greerton area, as myself and many other "mature supperannuitants" were until the Bylaw came into being. Now the Greerton shops are getting back to being the happy, SAFE shopping environment it used to be. Please do not remove the Bylaw - we need our medicines or money from ATMs when collected (and not be stalked, hassled or robbed), we don’t need to be hassled for cash or cigarettes on our walking frames, sticks, or mobility scooters - especially by those drinking alcohol and rough sleeping in public areas where it’s banned.

Really

Posted on 20-11-2019 13:02 | By Told you

Just when we thought this new council was what we needed to turn Tauranga around from the mistakes of the last lot, we get this, it stands to reason that the retailers need all the support they can get and this decision by the new councillors is a kick in the guts for the shop keepers, makes you wonder why we have elections.

One small step

Posted on 20-11-2019 12:55 | By Lvdw

Heidi Hughes needs to spend more time walking around the CBD. She will soon see exactly what the retailers have to put up with. The new council have barely been in power for 5 minutes and already stuffing it up! At least with the ban something CAN be done. Without it NOTHING can be done. And dont even get me started on the police presence in the CBD - what a joke.

Another backward move

Posted on 20-11-2019 12:39 | By DaKiwiBean

It is so obvious that those who voted to rescind the Bylaw have never experience the behaviour of the street sleepers. Having relocated to Central Parade, the problem is just as bad as downtown Mount. There is one couple who walk up and down asking for ‘Bus Money”. They dressed in the same cloth day in day out, They smell, they threaten the public and give our city a bad name. If Baldock say’s it’s working, then leave the Bylaw in place.

Overit

Posted on 20-11-2019 12:01 | By overit

TCC value the retailers and public.

It cannot be enforced

Posted on 20-11-2019 11:28 | By Eric Bantona

This was bogus to begin with although Terry Molloy’s heart was in the right place. This cannot be enforced this bylaw. Do we really want rates spent on having staff wandering around the CBD? They would be better spent on solutions such as shelters and emergency housing. I can’t even believe people think there’s a problem, it reminds me of the clip from Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Ricky Baker’s rap sheet. “Graffiti-ing. Littering. Smashing stuff. Burning stuff. Breaking stuff. Stealing stuff. Throwing rocks. Running away...”. Anyone that thinks there is a problem has clearly never lived in other cities. It’s such a small town syndrome reaction. The whole out of sight out of mind mentality is inhumane. Also they don’t make your business fail, your business fails because you are offering cheap, knock-off, poorly-made, tacky souvenirs or in general, toot.

Feeling safe

Posted on 20-11-2019 10:54 | By

It is a contentious issue. I believe what was put in place was working. Unless the council comes up with something much better just leave it alone. The retailers are the lifeblood of the CBD and Greerton. Get on with other important issues please.

whos doppy idea

Posted on 20-11-2019 10:50 | By hapukafin

Bringing back the filth left behind,the glearing eyes as you walk by with hands out begging,is this how we are going to regenerate our CBD.It will keep my business out.New Council is this what you got elected in for?

Our CDB Etc.

Posted on 20-11-2019 10:36 | By Tassie

This is why most people are giving the CBD & Greerton a wide birth, no one needs this sort of hassle each day, who pay the council, us not them.

Yes yaddick

Posted on 20-11-2019 10:04 | By

If the council wants to have them laying about drinking making a nuisance of themselves have them stay in the council chambers put a few mattresses down in the hallway and give them access to the alcohol cabinet and then us who want to walk and enjoy the city a break

It Is Their Right

Posted on 20-11-2019 07:43 | By

Their right to sleep in our shop doorways, their right to leave their rubbish thrown in the street, to have others clean up after them, to block our bins with their cardboard, their right to crap in our doorways, to pee against our shop walls, it’s their right to assault you if you don’t give into their begging. It’s their right to trash our CBD and make it their stinking cess pit of inequity. Great move council, a step in the right direction I THINK NOT. You just slid down the sewer manhole ladder and dragged our City with you. Yes there’s genuine homelessness but then there’s the thugs, the wannabe’s, the ones that world owes, yeah let’s get all PC with those little darlings. Merry Christmas Tauranga.