John Tamihere says as Auckland's mayor he would create an 0800 JACINDA hotline to call if residents see rough sleepers or beggars.

Anyone who calls the number would find a "person all loving and caring that knows everything about your wellbeing" on the other end, he said. A social worker would then be sent to work with the beggar.

Homeless people causing a "nuisance" by sleeping rough would be asked to go with the social worker - or find themself in breach of the law, Tamihere said this afternoon as he released his begging and homelessness policy in the run-up to October's election.

Mayor Phil Goff has slammed Tamihere's policy proposals as nonsensical.


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Tamihere claimed he would also force social workers to change their work hours, working three shifts so someone would be available around the clock.

"We have enough social workers in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland, to deal with working one-on-one," he said.

"With each person found on the streets, social workers, like a lot of other workers in the supply side of our economy, must wake up to the fact that social work is a 24/7 job, and there will be a requirement that they work three shifts."

Last year's homeless count on September 17 found there were an estimated 800 people living without shelter in Auckland, and at least 2874 people in temporary accommodation.

But Tamihere called the count a "$500,000 political stunt" and said he didn't need that to know the number of homeless and rough sleepers or where they sleep.

Homelessness was an issue for central Government, not local government or police, he said.

"The millions of dollars that Auckland Council splurges on subsidising central Government failure must stop."


The council would also build more social housing under his leadership, in partnership with central Government, he claimed.

Tamihere entered the mayoralty race last year after a relationship meltdown between the Waipareira Trust, which he chairs, and Panuku, the council-controlled organisation responsible for development in Auckland.

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The trust last year threatened legal action against Panuku for capping the proportion of social housing the trust could build on land sold to it by Panuku.

Tamihere said he had now filed an urgent claim to the Human Rights Tribunal for that policy to be deemed a breach of Human Rights, particularly affecting superannuitants, beneficiaries and those earning under $80,000 per year.

"Council owns some of the most strategic and important land parcels that could bring an end to homelessness in the city, but more importantly they are brownfield sites close to transport and existing infrastructure."

Goff said Tamihere's proposals were a "stunt" and were "shameful" given the seriousness of Auckland's homelessness problem.

The council was already working hard to help fix homelessness, particularly through the Housing First programme, he said.

Plans to make social workers do longer hours, or to get police to move the homeless off the streets, were not within the council's power.

Goff said Panuku's cap on social housing - at around one-third of any development - was in line with international best practice.

"Our councillors are overwhelmingly in favour of balanced housing subdivisions - not plonking all the people with pressing social needs in one place."