Out of sight out of mind

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 am, July 31st, 2011 - 48 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, poverty - Tags: , ,

“Government to clear beggars before international sporting event”. We’ve seen variations of this kind of headline many times over the years. China before the Olympic games. India before the Commonwealth games. South Africa before the Soccer World Cup. What terrible problems such countries must have! What a shameful way to treat those at the very bottom of society’s pecking order – sweeping them aside and trying to pretend that they don’t exist! Tut tut tut.

That sort of thing would never happen here, right? Wrong:

Beggar-ban considered in Palmerston North

Palmerston North is moving to rid the city of beggars before the Rugby World Cup. Its police are supporting calls from angry business owners to rid the city centre of beggars including a potential bylaw that could empower police to prosecute any beggars who do not leave the CBD.

We already have “third world” rates of diseases such as rheumatic fever and pneumonia. We already have the ‘Hidden shame’ of child poverty, and Kiwis dining on cockroaches and cat food.  We already have longstanding problems of poor housing, overcrowding and poor nutrition getting worse in the wake of the recession and the GST increase.  And now we’re planning to clear beggars from the streets, thus taking another step closer to those “third world” countries that we so like to look down on.

Still, out of sight out of mind eh.  How about those All Blacks?

48 comments on “Out of sight out of mind”

  1. Palmerston North is not the only place this has been tried.  John Banks’ Auckland City Council also gave it a go.

    That Council enacted Bylaw No 20 – Public Places 2008 which included in the definition of “street trading” the “soliciting or collection of any subscription or donation”.  In John Banks’ Auckland beggars needed to apply for a licence before they were permitted to beg.  Someone found begging without a permit could be required to leave the area.  Failure to do so would constitute an offence punishable a fine of up to $20,000.

    That particular piece of madness was the brainchild of Paul Goldsmith, National’s current sacrificial lamb candidate for the Epsom electorate.  He seemed to be particularly upset that the homeless were making Auckland look messy, and he proposed changes to the New Zealand Bill of Rights so that police officers could pick people up and move them on.

    That Council budgeted $220,000 for security guards to deal with the homeless, that sum could have been used to provide many homeless with shelter.  It is not as if there had been an explosion in the numbers of homeless living on the streets.  As noted at the time by current Councillor Cathy Casey

    For as long as there has been a city here there have been rough sleepers. The problem is not huge. The latest count found 91 people sleeping rough within 3km of the Sky Tower – down from the 120 the year before.

    Ironically in a past life Banks had slept rough.  Shame his level of compassion for the homeless was about as high as Goldsmith’s.

    • freedom 1.1

      Prendeghastly and Blumblehead tried in numerous times in Wellington throughout the nineties and the 00’s. each variation of ‘Kick out the Bums’ they presented, no matter how it was disguised, always got quietly removed before too much of a stink was caused. The last serious attempt i recall would have been with the remodelling of Garrett St Park in 2006/7, this time it actually got to the papers and the propoganda machine kicked in. There were daily actions from all sorts of people that made the council reconsider. Suits with begging bowls on Lambton Quay is a powerful image after all.

  2. tc 2

    Paul goldsmith is such a nutter I’ve heard lifelong torys express their satisfaction when he failed to secure a supershity spot.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Don’t you know, begging on the street is a lifestyle choice, which is why under National we forecast a gradual but significant increase in their numbers.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Frankly I’m surprised these people don’t just go commit a crime with the intention of getting into prison. I think it would probably generally beat living on the streets.

    Prisons are probably full of such types already.

    • freedom 4.1

      so apart from not acknowledging any of the inherent social responsibilty that we all share, and rather than look for a solution or even respect the fact that some people are in a terrible situation that is not always of their own making by the way, you not only generalise in an obscene way with the ubiquitous ‘these people’, you rampage on to suggest they compound their problems further by getting a criminal record and exposing themselves to a regularly violent environment.

      All this in only eighteen words, wow !

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        Way to completely take my comment the wrong way.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          What did you mean Lanthanide? ‘these people’ and ‘such types’ are phrases usually used to distance oneself from people one either doesn’t understand or doesn’t like, so it is hard not to read your comment in a negative light.
           
           

          • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1.1

            It wasn’t a joke.

            Probably I should have said “these people haven’t committed crimes with the simple intention”.

            My point is that if society can’t be bothered to look after these people, such that they are forced to live on the street, then they should take advantage of the fucked up situation our society has put them in by doing the only thing that could get them reasonable care, ultimately harming society more (from the crime) and costing more (from the high security lodgings).

            That is to say, we treat our prisoners better than we treat our homeless. That’s pretty poor.

        • freedom 4.1.1.2

          Dear Lanthy

          i came back to your words a few times during the day and still see nothing in there that suggests it was sarcasm or satire or anything else but what it appears to be…. messed up.

          But i believe people should say what they mean and mean what they say, so if it was meant to be sardonic then i will take it as such and humbly give you the benefit of the doubt.

          Good thing you said so because i was beginning to imagine a harping pinched nose matron with a heart resembling the shrivelled prunes she had for breakfast. ( no offense to matronly pinch nosed prune lovers) I guess i need a few hints next time, maybe a smiley or a fake voice or a big fat ‘this is a bloody joke allright’ something apart from the tone you heard in your own head which is a little hard to translate at this end of a stream of data .

          hope you have a fantastic week 🙂

      • aotearoean 4.1.2

        I think Lanth is taking the piss.

        Interestingly the Palmerston North CC report indicates that the report writer spoke to the beggars he could find and concluded that all but one had mental health problems.

        The report is at http://www.pncc.govt.nz/content/154423/Agenda%20Comm%20Wellbeing%201-8-2011%20less%20mb.pdf

    • bbfloyd 4.2

      give it time… if national get back in, those on the streets will be grateful for the foresight the govt showed building all those new ones for them..

    • MrSmith 4.3

      Go easy Lanthanide, 
       
      These people are free on the street, maybe freer than you and me, they don’t have to work or be on time. I envy there freedom, they are an example to all of us that not everyone sees thing’s and the world the way we do.

    • Vicky32 4.4

      Prisons are probably full of such types already.

      Or so a right-wing git of a bus driver told me a few months ago, characterising his brother-in-law as one of them… “He always commits a burglary at the start of winter, so as to spend winter in prison”. Ironic if true, because from what I have heard, the cells at Mt Eden are (intentionally?) kept at around 10 degrees year round.)

  5. joe90 5

    So how long before we have our own Kelly Thomas?.

  6. Daniel 6

    I wish I was going to be in NZ for the RWC, so I could go down to Palmerston North, and lie around on the street in filthy rags. I wouldn’t beg, maybe I’d give out change to passersby

    • MrSmith 6.1

      Great idea Daniel, and a fun way of protesting, hope some people pick the idea up and do something with it.

  7. graeme 7

    People have been living on the streets for ever.
    all of a sudden now you care?

    fucking bullshit you care. do i ever see you at the city mission?
    it is an opportunity to have a crack at the govt rather than genuine care for the homeless.
    wanker.

    • r0b 7.1

      G’day graeme.  You don’t know me, and you have no idea what I do in the world.  So why so rude?

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      Yes its an opportunity to have a crack at an uncaring National Government who rules and budgets for the top 5% of NZ society and lets everyone else struggle.

      What’s the problem there?

  8. Oligarkey 8

    Viper. Isn’t an Oligarchy with just a few people holding the bulk of money and power an ideal society? Surely the possession of vast amounts of material resource is the ultimate sign of rationality, humanity and benevolence? K – got a meeting with Roger Kerr, Don Brash and that nice man Mr Key now. Must dash!

  9. alex 9

    Shame on Palmerston North, besides, what are people from countries where homelessness is so much worse going to think if they see a few beggars here? Probably won’t think twice about it. This is really an unnecessary move by the council, and very cruel as well.

  10. People have the right to beg. Passbyers have the right to donate or not to donate. Street entrepreneurs are not dirty like the vomit, urine and litter in every CBD in the country. Street entrepreneurs are doing something about not having enough to live on, I expect that this is what is embrassing to local and central government. I find the state of mess in every CBD to be a priority not a street entrepreneur.

    • felix 10.1

      Sorry, the right to participate autonomously in the free market can’t be extended to everyone or chaos ensues and the whole system collapses.

      Silly goose.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Free choice! Let the markets decide what is profitable and what is not! Cut government regulation and red tape!

        🙂

      • Treetop 10.1.2

        Oh silly me! I really do need to learn the difference between a bundle of heavy store pamphlets in my letter box and a person with a sign on the street asking for my money. It is really debatable what you get for your money at the supermarket these days. At least a street entrpereneur only asks for coins.

        Have you ever tried going to the supermarket with just coins?

        I had to ask someone once on the street for 10 cents because my contents insurance was going to be cut. I walked out of the insurance office, (asked a group of people) and then went back in with the 10 cents.

        • Vicky32 10.1.2.1

          Oh silly me! I really do need to learn the difference between a bundle of heavy store pamphlets in my letter box

          ????? Sorry, but ‘heavy store pamphlets’ means what? If you mean junk mail, then I get you. But store and shop* are not synonyms – that people think they are, is proof of being rather square-eyed and watching too much American TV.
          I am not being sarky, I really did wonder what you meant at first!
          * a store is a warehouse, a shop sells retail… Especially, an online seller is a shop not a store!
          ** Ban junk mail! Anyone who cares about the environment and waste of resources ought to agree with that.

          • Treetop 10.1.2.1.1

            I agree not worded well. My point is that there are many ways that people ask for money. If those who distribute the phamplets are not after money they would not bombard the letterbox with litter.

            • Vicky32 10.1.2.1.1.1

              If those who distribute the phamplets are not after money they would not bombard the letterbox with litter.

              Very true. Sufficient people must respond to it all and spend, because I get a tonne of it every week, but I am blowed if I know who these people are… AFAIK, my neighbours do the same as I do, and bung it all unread, in the recycling bin…

              • Treetop

                I even get pissed off with how the pamphlets are put in the letter box. Stuffed in through the letter slot and then the postie puts the letters in the old milk box part. Why the pamphelts/newspapers are not put in the cylinder above the post slot gets me. And when it is windy the council have to pick up the pamphlets littered around the street.

                • Vicky32

                  And when it is windy the council have to pick up the pamphlets littered around the street.

                  Exactly. There is a permanent puddle in our street (I call the Council every week, and every week they ignore it) and the pamphlets, and sometimes the real post, ends up in it.
                  I have learned to check the junk mail before binning it, as sometimes the postie puts the letters in amongst the junk (if she can get them to fit!) One month, I didn’t get a phone bill, and I am horribly afraid that’s what happened to it, that it got shoved inside a Michael Hill catalogue and binned…

                  • Treetop

                    I rang up NZ Post and they told me that the postie has to safely deliver the mail. When there is no room they have to repost. I realise that sometimes adolescents deliver pamphlets, but the letter slot is for letters. I have had utility/bank bills not delivered or dropped on the ground.

                    A full letter slot must get tedious for the postie.

                • A ‘No circulars please’ sign seems to do it for me.

                  But, then there’s the recent fashion that The Press (I’m a subscriber) bundles two or three ‘promotional inserts’ into the rolled up paper each day – they’re like rats finding little ‘holes’ to get into the house! The Press is becoming a Trojan Newspaper for junk mail.

                  The war continues. 

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Personally, I think the council should be suing the people who send out those pamphlets. They’ve got better things to do with the peoples rates than to pay to clean up after the scum posting out unwanted and unnecessary rubbish.

                  • Treetop

                    A sign helps but unless one is screwed on it doesn’t last.

                    A person still gets junk even with a sign.

    • davidc 10.2

      When your “street entrepreneur” who is drunk at noon and was sitting on my car bonnet, blocks the way to my car door and asks me for cash then swears at me more when I refuse, I really cannot wait for him and his mates to be given the arse from town. Yip I live in lil ole Palmy.

      • Treetop 10.2.1

        There are more drunk people not begging who are a problem in the CBD and what do the council do about them?

        • davidc 10.2.1.1

          I would hope that all people that are drunk and abusive would be removed and dealt with accordingly.

          Your point is what? Only drunks that beg should be allowed to abuse people?

          • Treetop 10.2.1.1.1

            I am a bit skeptical that the drunk on your car bonnet was a genuine street entrpreneur. Lots of drunk people ask for money in the CBD and they can be abusive. I trace back the vomit, urine and alcohol litter to the drunks in the CBD, (high percentage in every CBD) and a huge cost in police, health and educational resources.

            Going about your business and being abused by a sober or drunk person is not acceptable and this is a police matter regardless of being asked for money.

            Jono Naylor has to tread carefully when it comes to blaming those in poverty for the vomit, urine, alcohol litter, (smashed jaggered bottles) shouting, violence in the residential streets on the way to the CBD and in the CBD.

            I know Palmy well.

      • felix 10.2.2

        Good idea davidc.

        Let’s instruct the police to ensure there are no drunks on the streets during the Rubber Wool Cup.

        You definitely have my support on that.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.2.2.1

          Seconded

        • Ianupnorth 10.2.2.2

          Here in Rotovegas the local homeless charity have challenged the local mayor and the local Tory Boy Todd (my dad rips off charities) McClay to spend some time on the street.
          See, we have this problem; we have recidivist crime, the offenders end up having short breaks in Rangipo and when they get out, guess what, they have nowhere to live. They can’t move elsewhere, else they lose benefits or breach parole. They can’t rent a house because they don’t have a bond. They can’t get work because they have no address, so they are pretty much stuck on the street.
          So, if you do a Palmy where are you going to place them – in a hostel on the Chathams for the RWC?
          What idiots think up these things?

      • mik e 10.2.3

        If we had user pays taxes on alcohol we could afford to detox these alcoholics in proper treatment centers. Under this Govt they are doing absolutely nothing about this $5.5 billion Drag on our society. their in the booze barons back pockets!

    • Vicky32 10.3

      I have recently seen a heap of people begging in the Auckland CBD, they were there at 07.50 when I went into work at the language school, then started packing up and moving on at about 09.30! The two who hung around the language school (which is half a block from Mickey Ds) were young – a guy selling portraits to raise money to get home to the UK, and a young woman whose sign said she needed a home for her child. I’d have given them money, had I had any to spare – which is one of life’s ironies.

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