Help, not harm

We wish to express our concern about the Your Help May Harm public education programme encouraging people not to give to people asking for money in public places. Begging for money in a public place is a lawful activity. The council is working on a proposed bylaw to ban begging and rough sleeping. In the meantime, the council has invested what appears to be a considerable amount of time and money to "educate" the public that giving money to beggars will cause more harm than help. It is not the usual role of councils to campaign to prevent lawful activities based on what they claim to be social welfare analysis. It is concerning the analysis appears hasty and flawed. The public disturbance incident in February in Greerton that apparently prompted the council action was reported by the police as not being caused by beggars. Also, a report by council staff in November 2017 only reported 20 regular beggars in the Tauranga area. Although there are anecdotal reports of people pretending to be homeless to beg, ultimately the increased prevalence of beggars and rough sleepers in the area is a direct result of the worsening homelessness problem. The current council programme risks stigmatising the victims of homelessness. Council resources will be better spent assisting them. (Abridged)
Michael Sharp
On behalf of Tauranga Housing Advocacy Trust

Bypass 'big deal'

Make no mistake - the completion at the end of this month of the long-awaited Maungatapu bypass is a big deal for Tauranga residents and visitors. Surrounding roading also gets upgraded and the eventual completion of stage-two will make this project even better. Well done to all concerned! Here's a quick list of we who will benefit from this well designed and constructed example of multi-lane highway, bridge/flyover, walking-cycle track and aesthetically classy NZ built infrastructure. (Take note Labour Coalition - everyone benefits in the real world.) All commuters, north, south, east and west, travelling through that area.
Locals girding their loins to negotiate the old prang-zone. Learner and elderly drivers (who just push the accelerator and pray). Drivers new to the area - approach with extreme caution; especially rainy nights. All insurance companies - every bit helps. Potential supermarket operators - this will tick most of the boxes. Politicians lining up to cut the ribbon and fight over the microphone/TV. Cyclists and walkers who have been very well catered for. And of course - Realtors, for arcane reasons. Who did I miss?
F Donald
Maungatapu

Traffic fines PC

How wonderful, so the traffic police issued around 120 tickets on one day - namely May 2 outside Mount College. PC madness is alive and well as this stretch of road with a current speed limit of 50km/h does not appear to even meet the land transport setting of speed rules either 2003 or 2017 versions, poses no issues of danger and results from a knee-jerking traffic bylaw imposed by Tauranga City Council around November 2008. The speed limit here should be no less than 60km/h which is the speed motorists expect to travel at on the stretch of road and rightly so too - the number of tickets issued last Tuesday vindicated that conclusion. The victim who received speeding tickets should defend any charges on the basis the current speed restriction does not meet the Land Transport Speed Rules criteria and the TCC by-law is therefore, in my view, in all probability invalid. The only surprise here is that the Hello, Hello brigade didn't spring the sting during the school holidays when Mount College and adjacent roads were virtually deserted. In my opinion, Tauranga citizens need this type of revenue gathering exercise in futility and PC expediency like a hole in the head - how about some meaningful genuine crime-fighting efforts for a change?
S Paterson
Ohauiti