Beggars turned the table on Sir Bob Jones, calling him a "self-righteous pig" and other expletives when Tristram Clayton hit the streets to get reactions to the businessman's comments.

"He's a self-righteous pig. He should try and come out and see what it is like," said one man, who has lived on the streets for more than 15 years.

In an interview with Newstalk ZB yesterday Jones said he could not believe there were still beggars in New Zealand.

"They're a bloody disgrace. They're an eyesore, it's a disgrace in a modern society that fat people - that fat Maoris as they mostly are - are lying on our streets of our city begging," Jones said.

Advertisement

He said begging should be made illegal.

"I was in the city yesterday, in Wellington, and one bugger was standing there, he had a message, this Maori bloke, 'I'm not on welfare' - and this apparently was an achievement - 'so give me money'."

Another rough sleeper said the "millionaire p...." was trying to put the blame on the homeless being on the streets begging for money when there were no opportunities for education and jobs.

"Hustling and begging is part of it to get by," said a third man, saying a lot of buskers had a house of their own, but could not find a job.

The Auckland City Mission however agrees with Jones on the need to rid city streets of beggars.

"We share a common vision here. Sir Bob wants people off the street. So do we," city missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald.

The number of rough sleepers in the central city doubled to 200 between 2015 and 2016, he said.