Revoking Tauranga's controversial begging and rough sleeping ban is one step closer to reality after a narrow decision by city leaders yesterday.
But rules and bylaws aren't going to fix the homelessness issue or address the reasons behind the issue.
On November 20, 2018, Tauranga City Council voted 6-5 to ban begging and rough sleeping within 5m of public entrances to retail or hospitality premises in the Tauranga City, Greerton and Mount Maunganui CBDs.
Yet yesterday the Tauranga City Council's Policy Committee voted to recommend ditching the bans in the Street Use and Public Places Bylaw, which have been in force since April last year.
It is a decision councillors are expected to ratify next week.
In Rotorua, which has been named as one of the city's six homeless hotspots, homeless are moved out of parks and reserves if they posed a risk to public safety, according to emails leaked to the Rotorua Daily Post revealing the Rotorua Lakes Council plan.
When NZME revealed the plan, advocates said the move would leave homeless with "nowhere to go".
One believed the council cared more about making the community look nice to attract tourists.
Yet every day when I drive past Kuirau Park it seems the homeless have simply been moved along to there.
And if the concern is having homeless in the city will detract when tourists visit, moving them to Kuirau Park isn't going to address that, in fact, it may have the opposite effect because the park is a strong tourist attraction.
Decision day for begging bylaw: Will it stay or will it go?
'Critical' Government funding for city's homeless welcomed
Banning beggars and rough sleepers, or moving them along, isn't going to fix the problem. It's just going to move it somewhere else.
The same could be said in Tauranga.
I don't know the solution, I don't know these people's stories about how they got there and their willingness to accept help and get off the streets.
But I do believe rules and bylaws are not the solutions.
Rules and bylaws may fix what retailers see as a problem, but it's not fixing the problems the rough sleepers are facing.