The Kiwi public's recent reaction to the backpacking beggars who have been blagging free meals in soup kitchens went a bit too far. Perhaps some of us forget just how brass bones many of our own European OEs have been.

In younger (and dumber) years, I've slept rough in Europe and I've got mates who ended up penniless, bludging for coins to buy train tickets back to a town with a friend in it.

For what it's worth, I don't mind a traveller begging for coins, as long as they're clear about what they're doing and not misleading potential donors. And I wonder if the loudest critics of this pair have done much donating to City Mission or the fabulous Aunties.

You can, right here:;