A council committee's decision to approve a ban on aggressive types of begging appears totally pointless - an empty attempt to appease those who have raised concerns about the issue.
Tauranga City Council's community and culture committee voted down proposals to ban begging and rough sleeping within 10m of a retail outlet in Tauranga.
Fair enough - there were valid reasons for doing so, including questions over whether it could be enforced.
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Some councillors felt strongly it could further isolate people who were already on the margins of society. One councillor went as far as to call such a move "morally repugnant".
The committee did agree to continue to support local social initiatives to address homelessness and begging, which is encouraging.
However, it's hard to fathom why they then voted five to one to prohibit "begging in a manner that is likely to cause intimidation, harassment, alarm or distress to any reasonable person" in all public places.
It sounds good. It gives the impression the committee is supporting effective action but is it really?
It doesn't appear so.
Councillor Leanne Brown says the wording of the ban addresses specific behaviours that cause the most harm in the community.
However, another councillor points out intentionally intimidating behaviour is already a crime - adding it to a begging bylaw would give the council and the police no additional enforcement power.
Hopefully the council sees sense on this issue and the proposed ban is ditched. If action is to be taken, it at least needs to have some chance of being effective.