People hustling for money have vanished from Auckland's Queen St, just in time for the Rugby World Cup.

Among them is Wiremu Phillips, who has been sleeping rough for about nine years. With a friend, Rory, Phillips sits in doorways on Queen St and asks strangers for spare change.

But Phillips said security guards, acting for Auckland Council, had told him to move on - saying if he didn't comply, he'd be arrested.

Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson said the absence of beggars from Queen St was noticeable over the past week.


Robertson advised people not to give beggars money and said anybody with genuine problems could get help at the City Mission.

Betty MacLaren, team leader of Auckland Council's safety group (central), said three extra security guards had been brought in to help with patrols as rugby visitors arrived in the city but the council wasn't trying to clear the streets. She conceded, though, that the council didn't want overseas visitors "beseeched" by people asking for money.