Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Wellington puts out its own hat

Cities have different methods of dealing with beggars. Photo / AP
Cities have different methods of dealing with beggars. Photo / AP

The ban on begging under consideration by Auckland Council comes as other cities trial different ways to address the social problem.

This week Wellington City Council launched its "alternative giving" campaign, with posters in prominent begging spots in Cuba St, Courtenay Place and Willis St encouraging people to give to charity instead.

Charity boxes have also been set up to collect funds for the homeless, which the council hopes will provide a disincentive for beggars.

Begging has been on the rise in the city, as have public complaints. But a council spokesman told the Herald there were no plans for a ban.

Overseas, Melbourne has used CCTV and co-ordinated prosecutions to crack down on beggars, with punishment including a compulsory diversion programme involving health checks and efforts to find work.

In China, ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games, officials created holding centres for out-of-town beggars and illegal hawkers, who were forcibly returned to their home provinces.

- NZ Herald

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