Beggars have long been part of the landscape in the Tauranga City Centre for over a year but soon the activity will be banned.
“We are not happy with it but at the same time I understand why it had to be done,” says Tania Lewis-Rickard of Kai Aroha Tauranga who provides meals for the homeless in Tauranga.
She says the by-law is the result of a few "bad apples".
“There are some beggars and homeless streeties that are spoiling it for the genuine homeless people who are very vulnerable.”
The Tauranga City Council passed a by-law yesterday preventing begging and rough sleepers within five-metres of shops in the central business districts of Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Greerton.
“This is not the silver bullet, this will not fix the problem on its own. It has to be a team effort and there's something like 20-odd agencies in town working towards this,” says councillor Terry Molly.
Molly, who spearheaded the by-law, says he is happy to resign if no positive change comes from this action.
“I'm hoping by the time we get the by-law in place that we have most of these issues worked through, (so) when it does come into place there won't be any arrests.
The by-law comes into effect on April 1, 2019.