A woman who works with Tauranga's homeless says a council committee's proposal to ban only intimidating and aggressive forms of begging is a win.

But a Greerton retailer is appalled at the councillors' decision, saying it will do nothing to improve the situation businesses and their customers face in the village.

On Tuesday, Tauranga City Council's community and culture committee voted down councillor Terry Molloy's plan to ban all begging within 10m of a retail premises.

Instead, it approved for consultation a ban on "begging in a manner that is likely to cause intimidation, harassment, alarm or distress to any reasonable person" in public places citywide.


Tracey Carlton, who protested at the council's first meeting about a bylaw in November, said she was "stoked" with the result.

"We felt it was fair," Carlton said.

Carlton, a volunteer at the regular Milo Nights for homeless people in Tauranga's CBD, said it was reasonable for there to be consequences for being aggressive towards people and harassing or threatening them.

But Greerton printer Dan Hughes said for his customers, even passive forms of begging could feel intimidating because walking past beggars could make people feel bad.

"This bylaw just makes another grey area. You have to judge the line about whether its intimidating."

Hughes said he would have supported the 10m ban, which would have reduced the impact of begging on businesses.

He said struggling business owners worried customers will just start going to malls which, being private property, could trespass beggars and have them removed.

"I am dismayed [councillors] have not taken our views into account."


Hughes said there had been a general improvement in the begging situation since the issue came to a head with a public meeting in April.

"There are less people begging and that's good. Fewer big groups."

He wanted to focus his energy on campaigns to stop people giving money to beggars instead of trying to get the council to do more than place a security guard in the street.

On the anti-tipping campaign front, Tommy Wilson of Te Tuinga Whanau Social Services Trust said there was good progress towards setting up places people could make donations instead of giving their coins to beggars.

Some prominent businesses were on board to be donation points, he said. He hoped to be able to make an official announcement soon.

The plan was for donations to be funnelled to genuine homeless people in need who could pass "the Piki Test".

That meant they would need to take their request to the trust's social services manager Piki Russell, who had worked with Tauranga's homeless for 20 years.

She would be in charge of making sure the donations made it to people in need, and not people trying to take advantage.

Wilson said he would have supported Molloy's 10m ban because of his respect for the councillor, who had visited trust staff working "on the front line" of Tauranga's homelessness issues.

Overall, however, he believed the way forward was for Greerton to focus on community-led solutions rather than regulation.