Ban on Beggars Ignores the Real Problem


Media release Saturday 6th July 2013

Ban on Beggars Ignores the Real Problem

 Auckland Action Against Poverty will support a protest opposing the ‘anti-beggar’ by-law proposal from noon today outside Smith and Caughey’s on Queen Street.

 The proposed Auckland Council by-law, which Smith and Caughey’s has requested, not only unfairly targets the poor, but also completely ignores real solutions to the poverty, homelessness, mental health, and addiction issues that are at the heart of begging, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sarah Thompson.

 “People turn to begging in the street because they are unable to make ends meet through other means. We know from our experience that this is in part caused by the incorrect denial of welfare assistance by Work and Income, punitive benefit sanctions, and the inadequacy of benefit payment rates.

 “We don’t need bans on people that try to hide our city’s poverty problems, we need real solutions such as decent job creation, an end to the current welfare reforms, and the introduction of a universal basic income.

 “The council has an economic and social responsibility to their people and instead of banning begging, their top priority should be major resourcing and other support for housing and jobs, and lobbying government for decent welfare policies.

 We will be joining other organisations and concerned members of the community to tell Smith and Caughey’s that their disdain for the poor is the real nuisance on our streets.”