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Tauranga Council decides to revoke begging ban

Photo: File.

Tauranga’s controversial begging ban, which only came into force April last year, has been revoked.

Councillors voted six-four in favour of ditching the bylaw at a meeting yesterday.

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.

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell says the bylaw would not have withstood a legal challenge, and he is working to solve the problem “strategically and sustainably”.

He says the previous council spent more than $100,000 on legal advice on the begging bylaw before they imposed it.

“All that advice was not to impose the bylaw because if challenged legally under the Bill of Rights, it will not pass the test.”

He says the estimated cost of defending that legal challenge would be around $200,000.

“I am not prepared to expose the ratepayers to $200,000 of costs on a case that we had been told by everyone that we will not win.”

Tenby and Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Weber are working collaboratively to launch a “conjoint taskforce”, addressing homelessness and poverty in the WBOP.

“Out of that, we will drop some very practical initiatives to manage all the issues that we are concerned about in this city.”

The taskforce will see “ambassadors” out on the streets of Tauranga.

“It’s all around making sure that we have staff with the social and interpersonal skills to calm things down if they get to a point where it becomes worrying for retailers and shoppers.”

He reiterates that any anti-social and criminal behaviour will be dealt with by the police.

Changes to the bylaw will take effect on March 6.

Last year, Councillor Heidi Hughes told SunLive the ban sends a very unbalanced message to the most vulnerable people to say that they are not welcome.

Mayor Powell and Councillors  Jako Abrie, Heidi Hughes, Steve Morris, Robson, Tina Salisbury and John Robson voted to revoke the ban.

Councillors Larry Baldock, Kelvin Clout, Andrew Hollis and Dawn Kiddie voted against revoking the ban.

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16 Comments
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If the Bylaw was...

Posted on 29-02-2020 14:40 | By morepork

...illegal, it probably needed to be revoked. Nevertheless, it seemed to be working and most of the citizens of Tauranga were in favour of keeping it. Let’s see how the new approach works, if it works. It should be no surprise to anyone to see Council doing what THEY want rather than what WE want...

Whens the next election

Posted on 28-02-2020 17:27 | By

Gutless decision I hope those who vetoed the bill will pick up a mop and bucket and clean the urine soaked doorways downtown

Raewyn

Posted on 28-02-2020 16:39 | By

Of course they do. Just look at how many people voted for Larry Baldock.

Councillor Heidi Hughes

Posted on 28-02-2020 16:34 | By Ian Stevenson

You are noted as having said last year that "that they are not welcome", the simple fact is that they are not welcomed by those who have for example a business that is plagued by these persons... the business pays rent (in the CBD a huge amount) and it is not a lot to ask that these unsavoury persons move along elsewhere. There is nothing good about encouraging the scourge of begging onto our streets, no good comes of it and in fact the Greerton lot appear to be well managed out of Rotorua in an organised and planned manner, that likely is more wide spread that many would like to admit. They all need to move on...

Dennis

Posted on 28-02-2020 16:07 | By jillphilp

Back to shopping at the Malls

Pam hawkins

Posted on 28-02-2020 15:48 | By Pam Hawkins

Can’t believe the reversed decision ... well done Larry and co for voting against it

Bollocks

Posted on 28-02-2020 15:15 | By Old Bloke

What about the rights of the 99.9% that are not begging. What about principles Mr Mayor? The principles of doing whats right to stop harassment of your citizens. The result will be predictable, more bludgers hanging around doorways. They can go any place else. There rights to excist have not been infringed. I guess every shop owner will need to trespass them...So thats not an infringement of their rights?? How stupid can council be. This decision is a joke.

Pandering to poor behavior

Posted on 28-02-2020 13:39 | By

We now see the great new leadership crumbling and siding with unacceptable behavior from beggars instead of siding with our hard working shopkeepers. Mayor Powell, since when did lawyers rule on the law? I always thought it was judges. Instead of sucking up to photo ops our new council should be solving the problems it was elected for. These are roading, roading and roading.

Begging by law revoked?

Posted on 28-02-2020 13:29 | By Val.M

So these people have more human rights than normal people going about their own business without interfering with others? What insanity are we introducing to our beautiful city! Why not find a solution for the homeless first before revoking the ban! Time to wake up Council! So glad 4 of our councillors showed respect to ordinary folks and businesses!

Beggars belief!!

Posted on 28-02-2020 12:37 | By

Unbelievable!!! I totally agree with Raewyn on this. How come 10 people, 6 of whom decided to revoke the ban, and who are supposedly representing all of us, decide what is best for the communities/shopkeepers. I also agree with Kaimai - what exactly does "addressing mean"? In local politician talk, it means bugger all!!

What the?

Posted on 28-02-2020 12:23 | By Lone Star

Can these Councillors take these beggars home with them

What the?

Posted on 28-02-2020 12:23 | By Lone Star

Can these Councillors take these beggars home with them

So Tenby..

Posted on 28-02-2020 12:07 | By hostile

wastes money that the previous Council spent instead. Why not leave it then drop it if its challenged? Keeping people safe and the City clean is far more worth. Beggars really need to see other Countries with no Benefit schemes and see how lucky we are. Maybe Tenby should take them into his place now.

No surprises here

Posted on 28-02-2020 11:39 | By Kancho

The bylaw seemed to work. Let’s see if the high and mighty words translate into a better outcome. Not that this couldn’t have been alongside the bylaw anyway. Wasting time and wooly talk. Seems the council should review their priorities on core business that are always behind. We are not keeping up on growth infrastructure, water, wastewater, roads, rubbish ...

Beggers

Posted on 28-02-2020 10:48 | By Raewyn

What is happening to this world, it seems the minority rules!

Explanation please

Posted on 28-02-2020 10:25 | By Kaimai

Could the mayors of Tauranga and Western Bay who are "...working collaboratively to launch a “conjoint taskforce”, addressing homelessness and poverty in the WBOP." explain this a bit better - "addressing" meaning what? I’m guessing its not solving.