Wellington city councillors vote against ban on beggars

By Solbin Kang

Wellington City councillor Justin Lester said banning beggars was cold and mean-spirited. Photo / NZME
Wellington City councillor Justin Lester said banning beggars was cold and mean-spirited. Photo / NZME

Wellington city councillors have voted to not put a ban on beggars in the city.
The move was approved by a vote of 12 votes to two.

Only mayoral candidate Nicola Young and councillor Simon Marsh wanted a ban.

Councillor Justin Lester said banning beggars was "cold" and "mean-spirited".

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"Begging is a social issue. It is not a crime, begging is a shameful experience ... it breaks your spirit," he said.

"We do not need to criminalise passive begging when they don't have any other choice."
Councillor Iona Pannett said there wasn't a "quick fix" for people begging.

"We need to have people housed, clothed and adequately fed.

"Giving money is a short-term fix," she said.

She said stopping people from begging was a "long-term aspirational goal".

Councillor Jo Coughlan said abandoned parking meters should be transformed into "kindness meters" for people to put money into.

"It's an interesting initiative for the creative capital," she said.

The city will work more closely with beggars to help get them off the streets and will report back on progress in six months.

- NZ Herald

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